Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Preserving Herbs: How to Freeze Parsley

Garden Fresh Parsley
Today I'm going to show you how to freeze herbs. 

One of my neighbors gave me a ton of parsley from their garden. I love fresh parsley but it doesn't keep that long. Maybe a week in a glass of water.

Being able to freeze herbs is a wonderful way to preserve them before they go bad but still be able to add a fresh herb taste to your meals. You just grab an ice cube and pop it in your food and all the water around it melts leaving the parsley in pieces.

Freezing parsley is so easy. This method can be applied to any herb you want to preserve like basil, oregano etc.

Directions:

First, wash your parsley.

Dry the herbs. I use a salad spinner. It pulls all the water off the leaves without bruising them.

Meanwhile, bring some water to boil.


Next, separate the leaves from the stems. 



Chop the herbs. This is how they are going to be once you add them to your recipes so make sure you chop them in pieces small enough to eat.

Grab an ice cube tray and fill it with the herbs.

Next, pour the boiling water over the herbs. The boiling water will blanch the herbs helping them to retain their best color and flavor. It also helps keep the parsley from developing a slightly bitter taste which herbs will do if they are just frozen without being blanched. 

Stick trays in the freezer and freeze. Freezing herbs in ice cubes is the best way to prevent them from getting freezer burn.

Once hard, transfer them to a freezer-safe plastic bag. Then whenever a recipe calls for fresh parsley just take one of these suckers out, throw it in and voila! Fresh parsley taste without the hassle of trying to always have fresh herbs on hand.

Tips:
  • 1 ice cube of herbs equals about 1 Tablespoon.
  • The ratio of fresh herbs to dried herbs is 3:1 
  • Freezing herbs in ice cubes is the best method but there are other ways: 
Dry Freeze

Once your parsley is washed and dried off completely, separate the leaves from the stems and spread them on a cookie sheet. Put that in the freezer.

Once they are frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe plastic bag and store. When needed, take a pinch of leaves out and use as recipe directs. 
Pros: less effort and steps than above.
Cons: might develop a slightly bitter taste although I haven't ever really noticed.

The Fastest Method: 

This is the way my host mom in Germany did it and it is by far the fastest and easiest. Once your parsley is washed and completely dried off, stack a bunch (stems and all) in a paper towel and roll once until the parsley is covered but there is still paper towel left.

Grab another bunch and roll again. You can see that I did 3 bunches in this paper towel. It is just a way to separate them a little better instead of freezing in a huge chunk.


Place in a freezer-safe plastic bag and freeze. When needed, reach inside and rip off as much as you need and toss the stems in the garbage. 
Pros: Less work upfront. A great method if you need to preserve a lot of herbs at once.
Cons: May develop the slightly bitter taste although I've never noticed. You also have to put in the work to separate the leaves and stems later while you're in the middle of cooking.





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