My herb pots are growing and I need to harvest some of them. All of the rain we’ve had this summer in Ohio has made them lush and ready to pick. I’ve enjoyed substituting fresh herbs for dried herbs in many dishes this summer. Let’s talk about a couple of dishes we’ve enjoyed this summer. Not sure about which herbs to use with which foods? This Ohio State University Fact Sheet will give you some great suggestions for selecting, storing and using fresh herbs.
Have you tried a Caprese sandwich with fresh basil? If not, try one for a yummy treat.
How about a dish of caramelized onions, summer squash and garlic? Stir fry these vegetables and add fresh basil or oregano. If you have zucchini, slice it and add it to your recipe. Try this version from USDA for summer squash medley.
This year I made a version of Mala String Beans with fresh green beans. Cook your green beans in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Once they are blanched, you can store them in the refrigerator for 3 days. To make your Mala String Beans, caramelize onions and garlic (be generous with garlic) in a small amount of olive oil. Add your blanched green beans and stir fry. Add a small amount of sesame oil and low sodium soy sauce. Enjoy. Using fresh onions from my garden made this dish extra tasty.
Back to my herbs. . . I want to have the taste of fresh herbs after they’ve dried up and there’s snow on the ground so I decided to freeze some of my herbs so that I can enjoy them this winter.
Here’s my pictorial of picking and freezing herbs:
Basil just picked, washed and drying on paper towel.
Chopping fresh basil with specialty sheers. You can also chop with a knife.
Fresh herbs in a tray ready to be frozen. You can use an ice cube tray or a special herb tray with a lid.
Frozen herbs on a plate before placing in airtight freezer container.
Frozen herb cubes in airtight container to be stored in freezer.
I found out that it is relatively easy to freeze herbs. I picked my herbs and lightly rinsed them. Lightly dry them on a clean towel or paper towel. Chop them with a knife or special herb chopping scissors. Freeze in ice cube trays or in special herb freezing trays. Fill the trays with about 2 Tablespoons of herbs and water. Freeze overnight. Pop out the cubes and place in airtight containers. I would recommend storing your herbs in separate containers so the flavors don’t mix. I have basil and rosemary frozen in my freezer waiting for my next creation.
What will you create with fresh herbs?
Writer: Michelle Treber, M.A., L.D., Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewer: Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., West Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, OSU Extension Northwest Region Office, email@example.com