Authentic Italian Recipes from Italy


                          

                          

                                

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                                                                     Our tips & info

 

 

 




  
         

Tips & Info


Getting the Most Out of Fresh Herbs
  

Don’t you hate it when you are forced to buy too much basil at the grocery store knowing you will only use a few of the fragrant leaves in your favorite recipe and leave the rest to wither and rot in your fridge? Or perhaps you have a glut of it from your herb garden and you don’t know what to do with it. At RecipesofItaly.com, the best way we’ve found to get our money’s worth on fresh herbs like basil, mint and sage is to freeze them. There’s no fancy preparation like the ice cube tray method. Our method is incredibly simple and the color and flavor of the herbs will keep for at least a year frozen. This method is used for herbs you intend to ultimately cook such as adding basil to tomato sauce, sage to braised beef or mint to a soup. We do not recommend using frozen herbs in recipes like pesto.

 

 

 

First, remove the basil leaves from their woody stems into a colander or mesh strainer. Once all of the leaves have been removed, rinse the leaves thoroughly to clean them well. After washing the basil leaves, place a layer of paper towels or absorbent dish towels on the counter and spread the leaves in a single even layer across the towels. Place another layer of paper towels or dish towels on top of the layer of basil leaves and lightly press over the leaves to dry them. You can also gently roll the layer of towels up into a scroll to remove even more excess water. Continue drying the herbs until they appear to be mostly dry.

To maintain optimal freshness for the longest time, we recommend freezing the herbs in glass jars with a wide mouth opening. Place the leaves into the jar(s), making sure not to pack them too tightly. If the leaves are too tightly packed when they are frozen, they’ll crumble into tiny pieces when you try to remove them from the jar when you are ready to use them. The leaves are good if they move around in the jar when you shake it.

Once the jars are packed, close the lids well and place them in the freezer until you are ready to use the herbs. To use the herbs in a recipe, simply remove the quantity you need from the jar and place the leaves into your recipe. For example, if you are making our authentic Italian Homestyle Tomato Sauce, bring the sauce to a simmer and add 4 – 5 of the frozen whole basil leaves to the simmering sauce. Cover the pan and simmer another 8 – 10 minutes or until the sauce is ready. When the sauce is ready for serving, you can either leave the basil leaves in the sauce and serve or remove and discard them prior to serving.

Need some inspiration? Here are a few of our authentic Italian recipes where you can use frozen herbs:

- Vodka Sauce

- Home-Style Tomato Sauce

- Baked Gnocchi with Sausage and Cheese

- Baked Ziti