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Tips for Freezing Fresh Produce

Freezing Herbs
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.

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

118 comments

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5:00AM PDT on May 1, 2014

The information in this blog is extremely useful for the people.
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12:16PM PST on Jan 22, 2012

Thanks.

9:33AM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

Great info, thanks so much...

9:05AM PDT on Jun 17, 2011

Valuable information. Thank you

12:10AM PDT on Jun 17, 2011

Thanks for the tips.

12:12PM PDT on Jun 9, 2011

Great info. Thank you.

8:41AM PST on Feb 18, 2011

Half my freezer is full with onion, black and red currant, strawberries, herbs and raspberries! Thanks for the tips!

11:07AM PDT on Nov 4, 2010

I love to freeze fresh fruit but did not know about the cookie sheets great info!!!

12:30PM PDT on Oct 29, 2010

I'm trying to get in the habit of freezing for fruit smoothies in the middle of winter.

10:28AM PDT on Oct 26, 2010

super post, thanks!

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