It is that time of the year when I start freezing different herbs for winter. I do not know about you, but I hate spending money during the colder months on organic parsley, therefore I always take advantage of the Farmers Market in the summer and stock up on my favorite herbs. Maybe it’s not the perfect solution, but definitely it’s economical. After all, why not take advantage of the fresh produce you can find at the Farmers Market during the short summer we have here in Minnesota and can or freeze as much as possible?
Growing up in Romania, we always prepared for winter. Many years ago, when supermarkets did not exist, people used to take advantage of the Farmers Market in the summer and buy vegetables and fruits that would become the main supply of food for the winter months.
I usually freeze parsley, cilantro, celery leaves, mint, rosemary and dill. These are the herbs I use the most and like them in a raw form in my soups and dishes I make over the winter. The rest of the herbs I use are usually in a dry form.
There are many ways to freeze the herbs, but my favorite way is the simple way. I wash them really well, I remove the stems and use only the leaves.
Then I remove the water as much as possible with towels, then wrap them in paper towels and put them in plastic bags that go in the freezer. I wrap them individually, only the amount I would use for that particular recipe.
The herbs are safe in the freezer for 4-6 months. Plain frozen herb leaves are not great as a garnish on a salad, for example, as they can be limp compared to fresh, but I often mix them into the dressing to spice it up. I put them in soups, hot dishes or stews and I just love them! Easy peasy, right?
Here you have a small tutorial of how to freeze celery leaves, for example. We were taking a walk the other day around neighborhood and saw the community garden. We went to check it out and while we were admiring the beautiful tomatoes, peppers and eggplants among other herbs and flowers, we met a neighbor who was attending his vegetable garden. He offered us a celery plant, so I brought it home, cleaned it up, separate the leaves from the stalks, freeze the leaves and stored the stalks in the fridge. I used the stalks for snacking on them, soups and salads.
The process is very simple and you can always enjoy a little bit of your summer treasures during the winter, while making delicious meals. Enjoy!