Ask Kitchen Wizard: To freeze, or not to freeze, that is the question…

One of the questions I hear often is,

 What does not work well when frozen for later use? What about fresh herbs? Have you had success freezing them for later use, and if so how?”

That’s a good question. You may find the following helpful. They list the shelf lives of many produce and pantry items as well as how to keep them.

I would use them just as a guide line though. You’ll find some of the information on somewhat contradictory, and other experts have different opinion. (Ex. Shelf life of bean sprouts on www.stilltasty.com. I find it much shorter than 1 week.) The bottom line is, it depends on your expectations and how you freeze….

As a rule of thumb, I normally freeze either sautéed or blanched vegetables, not not too many fresh produce. And avoid freezing things that contains potatoes or cream.

Herb freezes well, yet loses texture and smell/flavor, I personally don’t freeze fresh herbs, except parsley. I remove all the leaves, put in a small Ziploc bag, and when I need it, I take some out and chop them (or you can chop them first and freeze.) I find it perfectly fine especially when I need it in cooked dishes.  I freeze the stems for making stock.

For things like basil, I recommend making it into a pesto. Then you can keep it a lot longer, and you can even freeze it. (you can mix other herb with basil.) Make sure to use small container – I love baby food jars — so that you can finish one relatively quickly.

To keep herbs longer in the fridge, (and this works well for shiso leaves and zucchini flowers too), try wrapping them with a moist paper towel and keeping them in a plastic bag. I found this keeps tender herbs fresh a lot longer.

At a class on herbs and spices at Whole Foods last night, the teacher swore by Debbie Meyer’s bag. One participant agreed her strawberries stayed fresh for 2 weeks. The reviews on the web…. People either loves it or hate it. http://www.viewpoints.com/Debbie-Meyer-Green-Bags-review-5b0d7
More reviews on Amazon too.

Her advice I liked is that herbs are inter-changeable, so experiment throwing herbs in different dishes.

I will experiment with some fresh herbs in the other Mrs.. Meyer’s bag and , and let you know this Mrs.. Meyer’s verdict. (although I didn’t change my last name, my husband’s last name is Meyer, so technically, I’m Mrs.. Meyer, too.)

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