Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600640


     Whether  or  not  herbs  need  to  be  blanched  before
freezing  is  a matter of some debate.   The  procedure  for
blanching is simple and fast.   It involves gripping several
stalks of the herb with tongs and quickly swishing them in a
skillet  of boiling water.   The herbs are then spread on  a
towel to air cool.  When cool and dry, herbs can be frozen. 

    Basil is decidedly superior when blanched.   Chervil  is
not  substantially   improved   by    blanching,    nor   is
coriander,  because  both freeze very well.   Lovage freezes
especially  well  without  blanching.   Blanched  chives are
sweeter,  but  unblanched chives are more oniony  and have a
better  texture.   Since  chives are  supposed to be oniony,
it's  better  not  to  blanch  them.   Blanched  thyme has a
better  color   and  a truer aroma.   If you  freeze  thyme,
freeze  whole sprigs,  rather  than  just leaves, to make it
easier  to  handle.  Dillweed  is  no  better  blanched than
unblanched, and it  freezes well.                           

     While   the   color  of  herbs  always  improves   with
blanching,  that is not reason enough to blanch herbs, since
the color is lost in cooking.  If you intend to hold them in
the freezer for longer  than six months, there is a distinct
advantage to blanching herbs.  In that case, blanching  will
make a decisive difference in their quality.                

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