An Easy Way to Preserve Your Seasonal, Fresh Herbs

Photo: Robin Shreeves.

I was at farm stand today, and there was a huge basket of peaches for just $10. It’s that time of the growing season when fruits, vegetables and herbs are plentiful and farmers can sell the freshest, seasonal produce at really great prices. I wanted to buy the peaches and take them home to make jam, but I’m going away for several days and I won’t have time to do it before I go.

But, it’s clear that prime food preservation season is upon us, and one company that many people use to buy preserving supplies is Ball®. Yesterday, I found a big box of supplies on my front doorstep from Ball, including some beautiful green canning jars and supplies to make freezing fresh herbs easy.

I don't have time in the next few days to make the peach jam I love from Marisa McClellan’s “Food in Jars” before I go away, but I did have a little time to go out in my back yard and cut some fresh herbs (the only thing I’m growing this year) to preserve. The timing is perfect. While I’m away, the herbs will regrow and I’ll have plenty more when I come home.

Ball® sent me a new product called Frozen Herb Starters. The idea behind this herb freezing tool isn’t revolutionary. It’s quite similar to freezing small amounts of chopped herbs in ice cub trays. As you can see in the photo above, the starter has small cubes in a BPA-free, food safe silicone container that can be used to freeze herbs in water, oil, broth or butter, depending on what you want to use them for once you take them from the freezer. There are two trays in the box, each with its own snap on lid to keep the cubes fresh while they’re freezing and to keep them from spilling before they’re frozen.

I grabbed some parsley, oregano, and chives and used another tool Ball® sent me, the 5-Blade Herb Scissors, pictured at right, to chop them into small pieces before putting them in measured amounts in the Frozen Herb Starters. I did two tablespoons each of parsley and oregano in individual cubes and one tablespoon of chives in individual cubes. Then I covered them completely with water, snapped on the covers, and put them in the freezer. When completely frozen, I'll pop them out and store them in an airtight container in the freezer. They'll be good for months.

The Frozen Herb Starter comes with a booklet with suggestions on how to blanch herbs before freezing to help them keep their coler and themed herb combinations to freeze together to make cooking easy. For example, the Asian Sizzle combination has fresh cilantro, basil, mint, fresh ginger and hot chiles mixed together then frozen in cubes. When you want to cook a stir-fry, grab a frozen cube from the freezer and pop it in the wok.

There’s an Italian combination that can be thrown in sauces, soups and stews, too. Think of how much prep time can be saved during the cooler months with a little work now when the herbs are fresh and plentiful. And, think of how much money can be saved. I’ll be glad to have the frozen parsley, prepped, paid for, and ready to go when I’m making meatballs in the winter.

All of the products that Ball® sent me are in anticipation of International Can It Forward Day on August 16. I’ll be bringing you more details about that early next week as well as information about a big giveaway of the products that were in my box of goodies. Ball will be giving one of the readers the same preserving and canning tools I received. This is my first giveaway on this blog. I’m pretty excited about it.

Disclaimer: The products I received from Ball® were complimentary, but I was not monetarily compensated by Ball for writing this post.