My favorite part of this time of the year are the herbs, from the beautiful mint that can be found in fresh gay profusion, to the citrusy cilantro, whose haunting fragrance lingers in my hands so long after I have finished picking them summer is as much about fresh herbs as it is about fresh produce.
Seeing all this beauty also sometimes makes me want to bottle the goodness of these fresh flavors. And, there are definitely ways to preserve this bounty, that allow you to enjoy them for a leaner time and certainly significantly better than buying the commercial dried variety. Here are five of my favorite ways of doing this, that live well in the freezer including today’s almost no recipe for a coconut and fresh herb simmer sauce.
1. Stronger herbs such as Rosemary, Thyme and Sage, and despite what this article suggests I have also done this with cilantro can be chopped and added to olive oil and frozen. I add minced ginger, garlic and Serrano chilies to the mix as well. Here is the general technique.
2. A fresh pesto can be made with almonds and oil and works well with chives, basil and other aromatic herbs. Here is my recipe for chive pesto, and you can adapt this to your favorite herb.
3. Simply drying and storing in a air tight container works for highly aromatic herbs like mint. I usually do this method and then powder the dried leaves and use as needed. This post does a great job of illustrating the process.
4. Simply chopping and freezing in ziplock bags work, but here you really need to do this in large quantities.
Lastly, I offer you a simple no cook, coconut and mixed herb simmer sauce. This sauce freezes well, due to the rich natural creaminess of the coconut and I have used it in today’s corn and chicken stew with fresh peaches.
A simple recipe for a no-cook simmer sauce that can be used to simmer, chicken, shrimp, tofu or vegetables.
- 11/2 cups of mixed fresh herbs (I use basil and cilantro)
- 1 inch piece of ginger
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 Serrano chile or more to taste
- Salt to taste
- 11/2 cups of whole coconut milk
- Clean and coarsely chop the herbs and place in the base of a blender.
- Add in the ginger, garlic and chili and the salt and sugar and the coconut milk.
- Grind to a smooth puree and use as needed.