I’m facing the end of summer as best I can. I admit that the boogie boards and beach umbrella are still in my trunk, but that doesn’t mean I’m in total denial. For example, as I looked out onto my porch I realized that, if I didn’t want to lose all that parsley and basil that was growing out there, I better do something with it, and quick.
People swear by a lot of different ways of preserving leafy herbs over the winter. I’ve heard about blanching the leaves. I’ve heard about drying them. Those never really worked for me. I tried the “puree them and freeze them in ice cube trays” trick – but that didn’t work for me either. The cubes always suffered some freezer burn by the time I was ready to use them and my plastic ice cube trays were never really the same.
My solution? Freeze pureed herbs in sheets.
- Cut, wash and thoroughly dry the leafy herbs.
- Puree them with olive oil and whatever add-ins you want. Parsley paste works really well with this, but this year I ground up some plain basil and it worked beautifully.
- Get yourself some gallon sized zipper-lock freezer bags and label them so that you don’t forget what’s in there come February. Spoon a cup or two of the herb puree into the bottom of the bag.
- Lay the bag flat, seal it part way, then press the herb mixture up towards the opening so that it covers the inside of the bag in a thin layer.
- Make sure there’s no air in there, and seal it all the way.
- Lay the bag flat on a cookie sheet put it in your freezer.
- Take out and break a piece off when you want to add some summer to a soup, stew, or sauce.
The result? A frozen layer of puree that is thin enough to allow you to break off pieces in whatever size you want, whenever you want. Added bonus? The puree is protected from freezer burn because there is no air between it and the bag. It’s also a snap to store because it barely takes up any room in the freezer.