Category: Herbs & Spices

Herbs & Spices

Can You Freeze Dill?

Dill is an aromatic herb that’s been extensively used in cooking for decades. Native to the eastern Mediterranean, dill is typically used to flavor fish, poultry, and meat dishes. This grass-like herb has a tangy flavor that adds depth and character to soups, stews, casseroles, dips, and sauces. The flavor of dill is so popular that dill pickles became widely popular because of this herb!

Suffice it to say, dill is one of the most versatile aromatic herbs out there and it’s not surprising that most people stock up on this herb for future uses. But can you freeze dill? Yes, fresh dill can be preserved through freezing.

Dill isn’t available all year round and if you love to cook, stocking up on fresh dill is a great idea. This way, you have a steady supply of your favorite herbs all year long. That said, it is important to prep the herb first prior to freezing otherwise, dill will lose its flavor.

can you freeze dill

Image used under Creative Commons from Stacy Spensley

Unfortunately, dill is quite a delicate herb. Once dill wilts, it goes bad within just a few hours. When kept in the fridge, fresh dill keeps up to 10 days. Freezing helps keep dill’s freshness for longer. Freezing dill at 0°F, the herb will keep safe indefinitely.

However, it’s best to use up your supply within a couple of months just so the herb remains flavorful. Below is a step-by-step guide on how can you freeze dill:

How to Freeze Dill?

Unless you grew the dill yourself, do not rinse the herb prior to freezing. Rinsing the herb with water will only accelerate spoilage because of the excess moisture. Store-bought dill has been cleaned well and is ready for cooking or freezing without extra rinsing. That said, you could rinse the herb if it is full of critters or dirt.

After giving fresh dill a good rinsing, lay the herb on a clean cloth while patting with paper towels to wick away the excess moisture. If you’re freezing whole stalks of dill, there’s no need to cut the whole stalks before freezing unless you’d like to keep them on a per serving size. Just place the herb, stalk and all, in a freezer-safe resealable plastic bag and stick it in the freezer.

For dill that’s already been chopped, our advice is to transfer the herb in an ice cube tray. You can also do this if you’d like to keep the dill in serving size cubes. After transferring the dill in the ice tray, pour water then stick in the freezer. Once the ice cubes are frozen, take the ice tray out, remove the ice cubes from the tray and place them in a resealable plastic bag. Then, stick the plastic bag of frozen herb back in the freezer. Whenever you need dill for a single dish, just take a couple of ice cubes.

Image used under Creative Commons from Dianna Ott

Committed to preserving the vibrant color of the herb as well as maintaining its plant enzymes? Try blanching dill first prior to freezing. Blanching is a  cooking method that requires shocking veggies with boiling water for a few seconds to boost their color. After blanching, pat the herb with paper towels then you can pack the dill for freezing.

How to Defrost Frozen Dill?

Defrosting frozen dill is easy. Just transfer a portion of the frozen herb in a saucer then stick it in the fridge to defrost for a few hours. Once the herb thaws, use right away. Defrosted dill is perfect for soups, stews, and dips. Do not re-freeze defrosted dill because the herb will lose its flavors once it’s left standing at room temperature for too long.

Summary

Freezing dill is a great idea during the winter months when supply is scarce. With this guide, you can now keep a large batch of dill all year long! Do you like dill? We hope that this guide has helped you preserve your favorite herb the right way!

 

Herbs & Spices

Can You Freeze Ginger

Ginger is often sold in a quantity too large for the average home cook to use before it spoils, so freezing your ginger is a good way to preserve it.

Ginger is an herb that is used to flavor foods and beverages. For centuries, ginger has been used for its beneficial health properties, most notably for digestive ailments. Fresh ginger root is used in a variety of dishes, and can be grated, minced, or sliced.

Can you freeze ginger?

Not only can you freeze ginger, most people find ginger easier to work with once frozen. Ginger lasts three weeks or less in the refrigerator, when left in its peel and sealed in a plastic bag. This short shelf life makes ginger an ideal candidate for freezing, which can extend its shelf life indefinitely. Many people find ginger easier to peel frozen ginger, and frozen ginger root can be grated without thawing, and then immediately returned to the freezer. Over time, the ginger root may become a little mushy, but given its use to flavor foods, this change in texture is rarely a problem. Though it may last indefinitely, for the best texture and flavor, use the frozen ginger within 3-4 months.

Ginger

Image used under Creative Commons from Delphine Ménard

How to freeze ginger

Ginger can be frozen in a variety of states. Ginger root should first be cleaned and dried, but you can leave the peel on if you intend on freezing it whole. If you plan on using large chunks of the root, you should cut it into segments now, as frozen ginger will be hard to slice. Place these chunks of ginger root in an airtight plastic bag, removing as much air as possible. Label and store in the freezer.

If you prefer, your ginger can be peeled and chopped prior to freezing. Prepare the ginger in the manner you intend to use it (sliced, diced, chopped, or julienned), place in a plastic bag, and freeze. If you are planning to use minced ginger, peel and finely mince it with a grater or food processor. Spoon this minced ginger onto a lined baking sheet, either in teaspoons or tablespoons, depending on how you plan to use it. (Three teaspoons is equal to one tablespoon, so if you are unsure, use a teaspoon.) Do not allow your mounds of ginger to touch. Cover in plastic wrap, and place in the freezer. Once fully frozen, transfer your minced ginger to an airtight container or bag. Be sure to label with the date and size of each scoop.

Using frozen ginger

When you are ready to use your ginger, you need not thaw it first. Grating ginger while frozen is often easier than grating fresh ginger, which gets stringy. Peeling frozen ginger is also easier than peeling fresh root and you may find that a spoon causes less waste than a knife. However, frozen ginger is difficult to slice, so extra care should be taken, or the ginger root should be allowed to thaw in the refrigerator until it is easier to slice. While texture may suffer if ginger has been kept frozen too long, the flavor should remain strong, and not negatively affect most dishes.

Herbs & Spices

Can you freeze cilantro?

Can you freeze cilantro? If that’s the question bothering you, you’re in the right place to find the answer. Since cilantro doesn’t stay fresh in the fridge for long and most often in comes in a bigger bunch than it’s needed, people search for a way to preserve it for longer. Basically, there seem to be two possible choices – drying and freezing cilantro. In this article we will focus on the latter. If you’re interested, read on.

Cilantro
(credit: LeafLanguages)

Freezing cilantro – important information

When it comes to cilantro, you can freeze it, but not everyone will be really satisfied with the end result. The most important thing you should know is that freezing changes the appearance of this veggie, so it probably won’t work that well for salads and other similar dishes. When it comes to cooked dishes, frozen cilantro works pretty well and in most cases you will be satisfied with what you’ll get. That being said, please remember that you’re the one who has to freeze it a couple of times and make sure frozen cilantro works (or doesn’t work) for your needs.

Before you get to freezing itself, you need to do a little prep. Rinse the cilantro to remove any impurities and pat it dry. Not it’s time to trim off any yellowish or brownish leaves, we don’t want them anyway. Now cop it. Once done, you can proceed to on the two described ways of freezing cilantro. Make sure to try out both and choose one that works better for your needs.

Freezing cilantro using a cookie sheet

Take a cookie sheet and line it with wax paper, then place as many leaves as you can on it, making sure they don’t touch one another. Then transfer the cookie sheet into the freezer for few hours, so the leaves will freeze. Once they’re frozen, take the tray out of the freezer and transfer the leaves into a small freezer bag. Push as much air from the bag as you can, seal it tightly and label it properly. Now it’s ready to be put into the freezer. Make sure it’s in a place where it won’t get crushed.

Freezing cilantro using an ice-cube tray

Take an ice-cube tray and add a few leaves into each cube (depending on how large the cubes are), make sure leave doesn’t stick out of the cube. Now fill each cube with water, so it will cover the leaves, and the tray into the freezer for a day. Once done, get the tray out of the freezer, transfer cubes into a freezer bag and put the bag into the freezer. This way you can quickly and easily get as many cilantro leaves as you need by getting as many ice cubes from the bag as needed.

Summary
Cilantro can be frozen and quite a few people do it, although it will work well only in cooked dishes like soups or stews. It’s suggested that cilantro shouldn’t be frozen for longer than half a year because of quality reasons. I encourage you to test out both described methods of freezing cilantro and pick the one that works well for your needs. If neither one does, that’s fine as well, you will learn that you shouldn’t freeze cilantro for this certain purpose you’ve frozen it for.

Herbs & Spices

Can you freeze basil?

Can you freeze basil? Basil is a culinary herb used both fresh and dried. It plays a major role in some cuisines. Is there anything (besides drying it) you can do to preserve it if you’ve got more basil than you can use at a time? Or is there a way to save some basil for the winter months? Fortunately enough, you can freeze fresh basil with good results. It’s also pretty easy to do that.

Freezing basil – how to

There are a few methods how you can freeze basil. I’ll discuss them in details. In every case you should start off by washing basil leaves and discarding any stems. Make sure every leaf is green, other leaves should be thrown away. Let leaves dry thoroughly.

 

Basil
Image used under Creative Commons from Amanda Slater

 

Freezing whole leaves

If you’d like to freeze whole leaves, there are a few options for you. Once the leaves are dry, they’re basically ready to be frozen for the long term, but freezing them without any further preparation won’t give you best results. Take note that basil leaves after thawing won’t be as bright green as they’re before freezing. There are a least two things you can do to prepare the leaves for freezing for the long term.

Blanching is the first thing you can do to better prepare basil leaves for freezing. It helps with preserving natural color and taste when the herb is frozen. You simply need to place basil leaves in boiling water for a short period of time (15 seconds should do the trick) and then quickly cool the leaves down. A pot or sink of ice water is of a great help when it comes to cooling the leaves. After that you should dry the leaves. Blanching is now complete. Please remember that blanching is optional.

Pre-freezing (or flash-freezing) is another way to prepare the herb for long term freezing. It’s pretty simple to perform. Place the leaves individually on a cookie sheet or a tray and put it into the freezer for a few hours to quickly freeze the leaves. Once frozen, flash-freezing is done – you can take the tray out of the freezer. The leaves should endure the process of freezing and thawing better than without it.

Now it’s time to put the leaves into the freezer for the long term. You just need to transfer the leaves into freezer bags. Remember to push out as much air a you can. Instead of pushing it out, you can try to suck it out of the bag using a straw.

Freezing chopped basil

Basil leaves can be chopped using a food processor, a blender or simply using a knife. Of course if you want to, you can freeze chopped basil following the same steps as in the case of freezing whole leaves. There is, however, another way to freeze basil and it’s used often when people want to preserve basil’s fresh look, green color and taste.

Once the basil is chopped, take an ice-cube tray and put some chopped basil into each little spot. Now it’s time to add some water or oil to cover the herb. If you wish to, you can add water or oil while chopping, it’s up to you. Once done, put the ice-cube tray into the freezer and let little ice-cubes form. Once frozen, take the tray out of the freezer and transfer the cubes into a freezer bag. The chopped basil is ready to be frozen for the long term.

Word of caution. If you’ve decided to freeze basil in oil, add oil directly before freezing. Storing basil in oil (both in the fridge and in room temperature) is a botulism risk.

Freezing basil leaves – useful information

Before putting the bag into the freezer, remember to date and label it. To get the best quality, you should use the frozen basil within 6 months from freezing it. If you’re using it in a cooked dish, you can add frozen basil directly to your dish.

Summary
As you can see, you can freeze basil and there’s at least a few ways how you can to this successfully.