Drying herbs perhaps comes to mind before freezing them, but herbs do quite well when frozen. The most basic method involves removing the leaves from the stem, then rinsing and drying. Place the leaves on a tray in the freezer, and when frozen gather them in a freezer bag for easier storage. Freezing pesto in ice cube trays and then popping the pesto cubes into a bag for easy dispersion is a handy and popular trick, but Jacques Pepin has an interesting take on this. In his book Chez Jacques: Traditions and Rituals of a Cook (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) Pepin says that he prefers not to freeze finished pesto and opts instead for freezing a basil puree that he then transforms into pesto after defrosting. (This method can be used for any leafy herbs.)
Jacques Pepin’s Method for Freezing Basil
1. Submerge basil leaves in boiling water and cook until soft, about one minute.
2. Drain in a colander and cool with cold water.
3. Drain again and press gently to remove excess water.
4. Place in a food processor with a dash of salt and some olive oil.
5. Process until pureed and freeze in small packages.
Buying Frozen Food
When all else fails, buying frozen fruit and vegetables from the super market has its advantages—in addition to ease and convenience, you can actually still get local and/or organic produce. Just be sure to look carefully at the package to determine where the produce was grown, not just packaged.