A bunch of herbs

 

Often when I go to the market, I love to buy whole bunches of different herbs.

Why? Well,

#1, they are very fresh and are extremely good value for money in the market

#2, I like to have fresh herbs to hand. There are so many times I’ve gone to the supermarket after work in search of some herbies, and they’re all gone.

But how can I make them last… and stay fresh? Here’s how I do it. I buy whatever herbs I need. In this case, I got 3 lovely bunches of Coriander leaves (Cilantro) – my absolute favourite ever. Makes me want Smell O vision all over again. Just like the Banana bread did. Hmmm!

You’ll need

Coriander leaves (I used 3 bunches which had about 20 stalks per bunch)
A bowl
A sieve or colander
A blender
Ice-cube trays
Freezer space
Zippy bags, to be labelled
Optional – Coriander seeds – 1 teaspoon and Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon

Prepare them by trimming the ends of the herb stalks, especially if they’re browny – 1 cm of the ends would do.

The next step is sorting the bad, wet leaves, if any from the good.

Coriander bunches Sorted piles Bad leaves

When that is done, put herbs in a bowl and run some water over it, to cover. Then swish the herbs in the water and lift out into a sieve to drain. Don’t pour the contents of the bowl (water and herbs) into the sieve, or you’ll end up with all the sand and grit over the herbs. Repeat 2 or 3 times.

 

Cold water Leaves being lifted outDrain in sieve Debris in water

When that is done, put a portion of the herbs in a blender or food processor (in this case, I use stalks and leaves but not all herbs are so amenable). Then I add some water – about 50-60 ml and then give it a whizz. Do this in pulses for about 20 seconds and then it is done. Ready to be decanted into ice-cube trays for freezing.

Leaves in blender Looks like thisBlended Pour in to ice-cube trays

But my love for  Coriander goes beyond using it plain and simple, I like it spiced too. Easy to do. How?  Heat up a dry frying pan and throw in a teaspoon of Coriander seeds. Let that heat up and then add a teaspoon of Cumin seeds. Toss them around in the pan (otherwise they’ll burn) and in no time, they’re cracking and popping and smelling like Indian heaven. Take them off the heat. This is all done in about a minute….. or a bit more, but not a long time at all. The minute you start smelling the spices, they’re ready to come off the heat.

Load the blender with another batch of Coriander leaves and then add the toasted Coriander and Cumin seeds. Then I add some water, give a whizz again till well blended – not more than a minute. The seeds will be lightly crushed. The aim is not to grind the mixture to a fine puree but to allow the leaves and spices fuse so worry not if you see the seeds whole or just crushed.

Whole spices Measured outDry fried More coriander

Pour the mixture into icecube trays and put in the deep freezer. I let my freeze overnight.

Stack in freezer

The following day, I tip them out of the icecube trays into well labelled zippy bags and put them back in the freezer. They end up fresh, frozen and remain separate

Well frozen Pretty patternSpiced cube All packed up

Herb cubes

The next time I want to make a quick curry or some coriander rice…. I won’t have to worry about the supermarket running out on me.

I figure next time I’ll try blending basil leaves and fresh tomatoes and freezing in cubes.

What tips/ideas do you have for herbs? Please let me know.