How to Freeze and Preserve Fresh Herbs in Olive Oil
Preserve fresh herbs in olive oil if you lack time to plan and prepare healthy meals that include ingredients with anti-cancer properties
What you eat, and don’t eat, has a powerful effect on your health, including your risk of cancer. However, many cite lack of time as a reason to plan and prepare healthful meals that include ingredients with anti-cancer properties. Here is one way to incorporate two powerfully potent ingredients into your meals – without taking a lot of extra effort or time.
Plant-based foods are always included as a top tip for a diet to prevent or fight cancer. Herbs, once thought of as only a flavorful addition to meals, are now regarded as superfoods, containing properties beneficial to health. For example, rosemary is thought to contain detoxifying substances that can help prevent breast cancer. It is also a rich source of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant.
The type of fat source included in the diet may also either promote or prevent cancer cells from growing. Saturated fats in meats and dairy could potentially increase the risk of several types of cancer, including colon, pancreatic, and prostate cancers. Choosing unsaturated fats, such as olive oil is a better dietary choice. One recent study found that it may activate protective signals in cells that could prevent breast cancer in women.
Cooking with anti-cancer herbs and spices may be better for you than some medicines! Per a study from MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, individuals in cultures who cook frequently with these ingredients are healthier and have a 50-fold lower incidence in several types of cancer – including breast, lung, prostate, and colon cancer - than those eating a Westernized diet full of fat and calories.
Here is how to pre-prepare herbs in olive oil in perfectly sized single-use portions so that when the time comes to cook your meal, the ingredients are ready to add:
1. Choose fresh herbs from the market or your own garden.
Herbs are the edible and aromatic leaves of some varieties of plants. Fresh herbs impart a purer and fresher flavor to foods than dried herbs, which have lost some of their essential oils during the drying process. The top 10 fresh herbs used in cooking include basil, parsley, cilantro, mint, rosemary, thyme, sage, chives, dill, and oregano.
2. You can chop them well, or leave on branches and leaves.
To prepare fresh herbs, first thoroughly rinse them under cool water and blot dry with paper towels. You can remove tiny leaves by hand or larger leaves using a pair of kitchen scissors. Some herbs, such as rosemary, have a tough stem; for best results, remove the leaves and discard the stem.
3. Place on trays of ice cubes (about 2/3 full of herbs).
You can put only one type of herb per portion or be adventurous and mix different types of herbs together. Combining Italian herbs for a pasta sauce, such as basil and oregano, would make for a great herb mix.
4. Pour extra virgin olive oil over the herbs, cover with plastic and freeze.
After they have frozen in the ice cube tray, you can pop them out and place the frozen cubes into small, labeled containers or labeled plastic freezer bags so they are easily identifiable when you need them for cooking. Each cube is approximately one ounce or two tablespoons. The next time you make a dish, pull out one frozen cube and toss it in the pot with the other ingredients. Alternatively, you could melt the oil/herb cube in a sauce pan and then add a meat (such as chicken) for sautéing.