Preserving parsley (not dried)
Does anyone have a way of preserving parsley to use over the winter? I assume that there would be some way of freezing it, but I've never done it. This parsley would go in soups, stews, etc.., not be used as a garnish, so I don't mind having some textural changes. I would like to preserve the flavor (and I find dried parsley rather flavorless).
I freeze my parsley every year. Basically, I just cut it out of the garden (usually doing 2 cuts a year), and then wash it and let it dry on some paper towels overnight. The next day, I chop all of it using a mezzaluna (I really don't know what the english name is for the half moon blade) and then put it into little tupperware in my freezer.
When i need it, I just crumble some into risotto or stews, etc, and it is fantastic. The flavour does not change much, nor does the colour.
We put chopped herbs into softened butter and freeze. It stays wonderful all winter. We do a parsley chive combination and a tarragon butter. This year I'm going to do a lovage butter too. These are great for sauteeing chicken or fish or with vegies.
We've done a bit of the olive oil mixes too. Basically a pesto without cheese and pine nuts!
Someone was telling me the other day about a different method for freezing whole herbs. She puts them on foil and then wraps the foil up tightly and freezes. She said there is some change but that the herbs are still good. Has anyone tried that? I thought I would experiment with it a bit.
I process my basil in the same fashion as I suggested for nofunlatte's parsley dilemma. No cheese, garlic, or nuts. Those get added when I am ready to make pesto.
For me it's a matter of labor. By processing a huge batch of basil at once, I have ready-to-use basil throughout the winter.
Though I've heard of freezing herbs whole, it struck me as being wasted labor for a mediocre result.
I'm also lucky enough to live where many of the basic herbs survive the winter.
I'd also add that not too much olive oil needs to be used for my suggested slurry. Just enough to pull everything together, so to speak.
I don't know if you do any gardening or if you live in a favorable climate. I grow a couple of pot of parsley every year. The plants overwinter here in Oregon, giving me fresh parsley through the year.
If you can't do that, I'd suggest running the parsley through a food processor with some olive oil and then freezing the slurry in an ice cube tray or in small containers. When the need arises, use a cube, or take the container out and allow it to defrost slightly, using whatever amount you need. A crushed vitamin C tablet mixed into the slurry during processing helps to preserve the color.
We regularly have a few near or below 0°F episodes during the winter, so any outdoor parsley dies. No place in the house for it and if I bring it into the garage, the cat will eat it.
I like the slurry idea--this is something that I will probably do over the weekend. Thanks, farrago!