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The Old Foodie

What Are You Preserving, and How Are You Doing It? (2006 - 2016)

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I should have enough herbs to try a few of these suggestions out. Freezer space can be limited so it will be interesting which storage technique works out the best. Decent herbs are scarce in the grocery store around here in the winter so I am looking forward to some decent cooking with the stuff I grew this year.

The lemon basil smells great so I am hoping it keeps the flavor after freezing.

Thanks for the help!

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I just put them in ziplocks and freeze. My basil loses its color, but the flavor lasts a long time. Everything else stays pristine for months.


Notes from the underbelly

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You can preserve them in vinegar or oil for a flavored solution, perhaps mixed w/ compatible spices. Even better are herb butters. Take a portion of unsalted butter and puree in a food processor then add the herbs- singularly or in combination. Great over grilled/poached/sauteed, etc fish, meats, or on breads. Ditto Fat Guy on the pestos and freezing and herbs. BAsil is very delicate- it oxidizes very quickly and it's flavor is very evanescent, so the butter/pesto/freezing will preserve it's flavor much better than drying. Personally, I disregard any recipe that calls for adding basil to a dish anytime prior to the very end b/c of this volatility of essential oils.


Edited by Tom Gengo (log)

Tom Gengo

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Is there a way to save them without losing the great colors they have right now?

I wonder if a blanch-and-freeze would work.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Is there a way to save them without losing the great colors they have right now?

I wonder if a blanch-and-freeze would work.

I was wondering that too. If you're just blanching then adding bicarb soda to the water would help preserve the green colour without affecting the flavour too much.

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I am with Badianne, I freeze them in quart or gallon Ziploc freezer bags. I bet I have 30 bags of frozen herbs in the freezer right now. They retain their color and flavor, and some of them even their texture (which is creepy). When you thaw sage, it springs back to it's original turgor and totally looks fresh. Weird.

Cilantro is the only herb that won't freeze that I've found. It just doesn't taste like anything, it loses all it's flavor. I chop leafy herbs (like basil) to the size I use most often. I freeze thyme on the stem and then just crinkle the frozen bag when I want some, the leaves fall right off the stem. Same with rosemary.

While this method won't give you a fresh basil leaf, it will have most of the flavor of fresh if you use it in a cooked dish. I will use it in a salad dressing, too.

I've tried freezing herbs in ice cubes with water, but I like the flavor frozen dry in a bag much better. Herbs freeze well in oil, but for the amount of herbs I freeze it's WAY easier (and more space saving) just to chop them and pop them in a bag. Plus I don't want to use that much oil in my cooking always. And I can use frozen herbs in rice without making it all greasy from the oil cube if I freeze them in the bag.

Call me the bag lady.

good to know about the sage. sage is the reason i clicked into this thread.

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I was told to store the herbs in the freezer on a bed of coarse salt. I also read that it is possible to preserve basil layered in salt and stored in the refrigerator but I have yet to try that method.


Cheers, Sarah

http://sarahmelamed.com/

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I joined a local CSA (finally) about 2 months ago, and when I did, I vowed I would use everything I got in my bi-weekly share. No excuses, no qualms, just plunge in and USE the food. So far, I've been keeping my vow.

Well, this week, I got a bunch of epazote....about 6 healthy sprigs, each about a foot long, and covered in leaves. There is no way I will use all this before it rots, and I'd like to dry it and have it around for future experiments. With Christmas coming this week, experimentation time is at a premium. No beans are on my horizon until after the first of the year (well, maybe black-eyed peas for New Years), but my epazote will be slime by then, I fear.

I did throw a couple of leaaves into the pot of posole I made a couple of nights ago, and liked it. I'm intrigued by the taste/aroma, and want to keep it around. I see from searching the mighty Interwebs that I can dry the stuff....but...

It's going to be raining here in Sunny SoCal for the next week. Literally non-stop. Normally, I'd just tie the sprigs up and hang them in the garage and forget about them for a while, but well, the garage is really damp right now. The whole house actually is. Can I freeze them to preserve them like bay leaves? Or should I hang them from one of my furnace vents that blows hot air? When I looked at them earlier today, I could see that they're already looking a bit peaked.

Thanks in advance y'all !


--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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I always freeze it. True, it freezes about as well as basil, but since it's an herb that is cooked in the pot with stuff, I don't think that matters. When I buy a bunch, I wash it off, lay it out across a strip of plastic wrap (trimming or cutting larger sprigs to the width of the plastic), and cover it with another layer of plastic wrap, then roll it up and put the roll in a gallon plastic bag. When I need some, I unroll the roll far enough to get what I need, then roll it back up for another time.

I suspect (but I haven't run a test to find out) that freezing preserves the characteristic flavor and aroma better than drying. (Think of the difference in flavor between fresh basil and dried basil.) OTOH, it may behave more like rosemary and retain its character pretty well when dried.


Dick in Northbrook, IL

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A Oaxaqueña amiga advised us not to dry epazote out in the sun, as it would drive off the volatile essences. So, she spread newspapers on a seldom uses dining room sideboard, and it dried slowly in the shade for about a week.

That's how we still do it, and it stays pretty pungent. I used some yesterday (not from the same batch!


Buen provecho, Panosmex

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I don't think dried epazote is the same. What if you melted a little lard, put the stripped epazote in, let it harden and refrigerated it? You need lard anyway for a lot of dishes that call for epazote, like refried beans and some cooked sauces.

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We are lucky enough to have a glut of chillies and I would like to preserve them.

I want to chop them up with their seeds and preserve them so I can add a spoonful at a time to savoury dishes like stirfries.

We would probably use each jar over 2 weeks and would keep it in the fridge.

The online recipes I've found seem to use a lot of oil and/or sugar (as in Chilli Jam).

Do you know of a suitable recipe that I could use?

Thanks in advance

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Are you looking to store the unopened jars in the pantry or in the refrigerator? If you want to store them in the pantry until opened, then you will have to pressure-can them. Methods and recipes abound.


--

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How about pickling them? Poke a hole in each one with a knitting needle or the tip of a knife, then stuff into a jar and top with white vinegar. The vinegar will get hot, making it a useful condiment....and you can fish out the peppers, chop, and add tangy heat to your stir fries.

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Canning, drying or freezing are all options.

If you choose canning and want the jars to be safe for storage at room temperature, safe canning guidelines must be followed.

Here's the tested recipe and procedure for peppers without added ingredients. (They must be pressure canned to be safe.)

http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_04/peppers.html

Here's the tested recipe and procedure for pickled peppers. (Canned in a boiling-water bath.)

http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/pickled_hot_peppers.html

Be careful with untested canning recipes, they may be unsafe.

HTH

~Martin


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)

~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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My brother gives out shaker jars of his chile pepper flakes every year for the holidays.

After harvesting the chiles, he dries/dehydrates them, then grinds them in a dedicated coffee mill/spice grinder (grinds them outdoors because the fumes are like tear gas).

Before he got his dehydrator, he would leave the chiles in a small wicker basket that had enough of a loose weave that they would air dry in the basket, with an occasional turning.


 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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In the early 1970's I had a garden and grew cayenne peppers. I took needle and thread and sewed them together and hung them to dry naturally. When the peppers were dry I sealed a bunch in recycled coffee jars. I used one of the peppers for dinner a few weeks ago.

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I am not clear on the use of the peppers. To me there is a significant difference between fresh, preserved with other ingredients, Super easy. I prefer not to slice before freezing as I think they stay closest to "fresh" when left intact (leave stem on as well). They do not stick together at all when frozen whole. If you want the more toasty flavor of dried then the suggestions on drying above are on target. The other preservation methods will of course add additional flavors to your dishes that need to be taken into consideration.

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How about pickling them? Poke a hole in each one with a knitting needle or the tip of a knife, then stuff into a jar and top with white vinegar. The vinegar will get hot, making it a useful condiment....and you can fish out the peppers, chop, and add tangy heat to your stir fries.

That's my favorite method as well; alternatively I preserve the chillies in oil -- though apparently the topic starter looks for other methods.

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I use Fuchsia Dunlop's method. A pound of chopped chilies, a quarter cup of salt, a glass jar with a tight lid. Put it all together, hide it in a cupboard for a couple of weeks (shake it once in a while), take it out and start using it.


If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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How about pickling them? Poke a hole in each one with a knitting needle or the tip of a knife, then stuff into a jar and top with white vinegar. The vinegar will get hot, making it a useful condiment....and you can fish out the peppers, chop, and add tangy heat to your stir fries.

That's my favorite method as well; alternatively I preserve the chillies in oil -- though apparently the topic starter looks for other methods.

Welcome to eGullet, fvandrog!

How do you preserve chilies in oil and be sure they're safe from, say, botulism? Or is that not an issue for chilies as it is for garlic?

Edited to add: Welcome also to Liz Ayers! What a great first topic!


Edited by Smithy (log)

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I guess it depends on what kinds of chiles you're preserving. If it's the poblano/mirasol/hatch green type, they can be roasted, steamed in a plastic bag and peeled, then chopped (with seeds or without) and put into zipper freezer bags. If you've bought a bushel of chiles you might want to use a food processor for the chopping part. You can almost liquify them if you choose, or freeze them whole with stems and seeds intact. I've used these frozen whole chiles for chiles rellenos with complete success.

Press the bags flat to squeeze out all the air and stack them in your freezer. When you want to use a little in a recipe, break off a chunk from the frozen mass and reseal the bag. They last all winter, until green chile season starts again in the late summer. I add this to soups, sauces, marinades, chicken salad or plain white rice or scrambled eggs, and it does wonders for a turkey sandwich after Thanksgiving. Once you have a stash of these chiles in your freezer you'll find yourself adding them to almost everything you cook. And then your friends and family will tell you to knock it off for a while.

I suspect you could do the same with any fresh chile, red or green. If you've scored a bunch of jalapeños (and you have a smoker) you could consider smoking them to make chipotles. Don't ask me how--I've never done it but I'd be interested in hearing if anyone else has.

Is there a better aroma than the smell of roasting green chiles? I live in México now, and we buy our poblanos at the market as we need them rather than laying in a supply in the fall, but I still miss that heavenly smell of roasting chiles.

N.


Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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