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Preserve fresh herbs

July 17, 2013
By Katie Wilhelmi , Marshall Independent

If you ever have more fresh herbs than you know what to do with, this information is for you! Perhaps you have fresh herbs growing in your gardens - or when you buy them, you always end up with more than you need. Whatever the reason, I'd suggest freezing them so you can enjoy the flavors all year long! Many people have experience freezing fruits and vegetables but not fresh herbs. In fact, some of these herbs will preserve better by freezing than drying.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

First, start with the freshest herbs immediately after harvesting.

Next, be sure to clean the herb with running water, then drain. No need to blanch the herbs.

Then, chop the fresh herb and mix with water. This step works well in a food processor. Freeze the herb/water mixture in ice cube trays until needed.

Or, store the herbs in a sealed plastic bag with all the air removed.

Remember to label the ice cube tray or plastic bag with the date and contents.

Store at 0 F and use within eight to 12 months for the best quality.

Frozen herbs can easily be added to dishes throughout the year. Add basil to pesto, pasta sauce or pizza. Add chives to mashed potatoes or homemade veggie dip. Add marjoram to a meat marinade. Add thyme to roasted vegetables.

The benefit of adding herbs to cooking is that you can maximize flavor while limiting the need for salt, which makes the recipe healthier. Herbs also offer antioxidants, another health benefit. Preserving herbs from the summer months will allow you to savor the freshest flavors, save money and improve the nutritional quality of your cooking year-round.

Grilled Corn-on-the-Cob with Basil Butter

Serves 4.

All you need:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil

1/8 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

4 ears corn-on-cob, husks and silk removed

All you do:

1. Stir butter, basil, salt and black pepper until combined; set aside.

2. Wrap each ear of corn individually in aluminum foil.

3. Grill over medium-heat about 20 minutes or until kernels are tender, turning occasionally.

4. Remove corn from grill; unwrap corn and serve with basil butter.


Katie Wilhelmi, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with Hy-Vee.



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