Savoring Summer – Freeze & Preserve Fresh Herbs in Olive Oil
The Kitchn Blog wsupplied an excellent Tip derived from an article for Vegetarian Times that appears this month in the July/August issue, all about preserving the savory fresh herbs of summer by simply freezing them. Why miss fresh Pesto, peach puree, or tomato soup of the vine? This simple technique preserves a bit of summer long after the first snow flies – you need only freeze that summer muse in your favorite brand of olive oil, in perfectly apportioned measurements using your ice-cube trays.
Summer herbs are ready for immediate resurrection in winter stews, roasts, soups, and potato dishes. Any dishes that call for oil to start with, can begin with a cube of frozen oil, herbs inside, as the base of your dish. Cook the onions and garlic in this herb-infused oil and let the taste of herbs spread through your whole dish.
Tougher hard herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano are most easily preserved in this manner; all herbs that would probably be cooked when added to a dish. Softer herbs such as mint, lemon verbena, and dill are usually added raw to a dish, and they don’t respond as well to this kind of preserving. Their fresh taste is changed in the freezer. Here The Kitchn blog’s preserving herbs in oil.
8 Steps for Freezing Herbs in Oil
- Choose firm, fresh herbs, ideally from the market or your own garden.
- If you wish, you can chop them fine. Or leave them in larger sprigs and leaves. Here I froze a combination of finely-chopped and whole herbs such as rosemary, fennel stalk, sage, and oregano.
- Pack the wells of ice cube trays about 2/3 full of herbs.
- You can mix up the herbs, too; think about freezing a bouquet garni of sage, thyme, and rosemary to add to winter roast chickens and potatoes!
- Pour extra-virgin olive oil or melted, unsalted butter over the herbs.
- Cover lightly with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
- Remove the frozen cubes and store in freezer containers or small bags.
- Don’t forget to label each container or bag with the type of herb (and oil) inside!
Here are some paint color that also preserve those leafy herb-color greens all winter long:
Summer, I miss you already, and you have not even quite left………