Few things bring out the flavor of your cooking like fresh herbs. Growing your own is so simple a toddler can do it - a pot, a plant, some dirt, water and a little attention are all that's needed.
But there comes a time mid-summer when you're faced with the choice of eating more than you can fathom or letting it char to a crisp in the hot sun. And you may wonder, What now?
It's a question I considered this weekend, when I was faced with not only my blossoming oregano and purple basil but also the bunches of basil, mint and dill that were the centerpiece of the CSA share this week. (I received a bite here, a bite there of everything else - what do you do with a golf-ball size red pepper or two bunches of broccoli that only yield 1/2 cup?)
Instead I checked out options for perserving what I had for the winter months.
Drying or freezing herbs are options, but as I don't have a dryer and, with little ones, cringe at the prospect of having a hot oven for 15 hours (not to mention what it'd do to my electric bill!) I opted for freezing.
Here is where your old ice cube trays - long abandoned for ice makers - come in handy. They're an easy repository for about 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs. Cover with boiling water and place in the freezer. (Be sure to label your cubes, paricularly once you've moved them to a storage container. You'd hate to have any surprises.)
As for my dill, I used it on a splurge of broiled salmon with olive oil and dill and made homemade dill butter to dress up ordinary steamed green beans.
recipe from Whole Foods
makes 1/2 cup
4 oz. unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic/1 clove, minced
Mix all ingredients in a bowl; season with salt and pepper. Spoon into serving bowl, and use immediately, or place on wax paper and shape into 4-inch log. Refrigerate or freeze until needed.