Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600640


Whether or not herbs need to be blanched before
freezing is a matter of some debate. The procedure for
blanching is simple and fast. It involves gripping several
stalks of the herb with tongs and quickly swishing them in a
skillet of boiling water. The herbs are then spread on a
towel to air cool. When cool and dry, herbs can be frozen.

Basil is decidedly superior when blanched. Chervil is
not substantially improved by blanching, nor is
coriander, because both freeze very well. Lovage freezes
especially well without blanching. Blanched chives are
sweeter, but unblanched chives are more oniony and have a
better texture. Since chives are supposed to be oniony,
it's better not to blanch them. Blanched thyme has a
better color and a truer aroma. If you freeze thyme,
freeze whole sprigs, rather than just leaves, to make it
easier to handle. Dillweed is no better blanched than
unblanched, and it freezes well.

While the color of herbs always improves with
blanching, that is not reason enough to blanch herbs, since
the color is lost in cooking. If you intend to hold them in
the freezer for longer than six months, there is a distinct
advantage to blanching herbs. In that case, blanching will
make a decisive difference in their quality.

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