How long do fresh-herb based dressings/chutney keep?
It looks like my CSA box will be featuring "living" cilantro and basil quite often. I do like both but there's a limit to what I can use. Thanks to that other thread I am keeping them in a vase on the counter and that is working well, but I still need to use 'em up before the next boxful comes! I also have plentiful mint in the garden.
I am interested in making salad dressings and fresh chutneys, but I won't necessarily be using them up right away - I want something that will keep in the fridge for a week. Is that possible?
Here's one recipe that looks good but I'm not at all sure will keep:
Other ideas for recipes with fresh herbs that keep welcome.
My guess would be that you could keep dressings in the fridge for around the week, especially if it is a vinagerette and not cream or egg based. You could also make batches of pesto and freeze (I do this on a fairly regular basis) or infuse oils/vinegars/vodka. If you infuse, be sure to strain out the herbs though after a good steep (a few days to a week) because if left in they can mold. There is also a good thread going discussing canning. You could always can/preserve chutneys for those winter time doldrums.
Honestly, I make an Afghani cilantro chutney (known as "gashneetch") using fresh cilantro, garlic, hot chiles, vinegar, and salt. It keeps in the fridge forever, no doubt due to the preservative properties of the salt and vinegar. After a couple of weeks, the color fades a bit, but the flavor doesn't suffer appreciably.
I'm getting back to you nearly a year later, but I'll try to describe the process.
I start with about 3 large bunches of cilantro/coriander (this will make a little under a quart). Rinse thoroughly, dry in a dish rack (thoroughly).
Then, in a blender, mix a teaspoon or so of salt, about a quarter cup of vinegar (one can use white, red, or apple cider vinegar here. It's a matter of taste and whatever you have on hand.) and three or four large cloves of garlic. Blend until liquefied. I then add hot chiles to taste. My favorite for this sauce is serranos--you can also use jalapenos, but serranos tend to be more consistent in heat levels than jalapenos, the supermarket specimens of which are sometimes completely lacking in heat. The number you add is up to your taste. I like mine pretty hot, but you can use anywhere from 2-3 to 10 or more. Chop these roughly, and add to the vinegar-garlic mixture and blend again.
Now you begin adding the cilantro a bit at a time, chopping thoroughly. Include the stems as well as the leaves. As this process continues, you'll notice the sauce getting thicker. Continue to add more vinegar a bit at a time--you want a fairly loose, but not entirely liquid or watery texture. It shouldn't be thick as a dip, but it also shouldn't be overly liquid. Think pancake batter as an approximate consistency.
Between each addition, taste for salt and proper mix of ingredients. If you feel it needs more garlic, add more. More vinegar? Add more.
Finally, I like to let this sit for an hour or so for flavors to blend a bit and then taste, adjust seasonings.
The traditional recipe for this includes walnuts as a thickener, though I don't know any American Afghans who regularly incorporate the walnuts. It doesn't make any appreciable difference in taste.
Hope this helps. Sorry so late!