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How to store aromatic herbs for the winter? – Italian Cuisine


We have several options: dry them, freeze them, salt them or make a great pesto!

A summer longer than usual, a particularly lucky green thumb and loving care have ensured that your herbs, in pots or on the ground, are still beautiful and luxuriant, but are you afraid that they will not survive the first colds?
Here are some ideas for keep them for the winter.

herbal-aromatic-Winter

Do you love aromatic herbs in the kitchen? It will be wonderful to release its flavors, aromas and memories into sauces, soups, roasts and all the warmer and tastier you will want to cook in the months that separate us from next spring; even more beautiful to make it a decorative bouquet to set up your table.

How to store aromatic herbs for the winter

1. Dry
Dried aromatic herbs are perfect in the kitchen, as a flavor to integrate (and try to reduce) sea salt both in cooked and raw preparations, but also as infusions or packaged in small gifts
To dry and preserve the aromatic herbs, once you have collected the desired sprigs, wash them well, dry them (preferably with the help of a centrifuge) and then hang them upside down in a warm place (the proximity of a radiator is perfect), indicatively for a couple of days, but a lot depends on the humidity of the room, so check periodically to understand when they are ready. When the leaves are dry, remove them from their twig and store them in paper or natural fabric bags, or in glass jars. For the herbs you plan to use in infusions or decoctions (mint, linden, mallow …) you can keep whole flowers and leaves; for those you prefer as a condiment (marjoram, oregano …) it is better to crumble the leaves after detaching them from the twig so that they are already perfectly ready for use.

2. In salt
The simplest secret for a soup that you smell in summer is a fresh basil leaf. It is just as simple to have it always available: gently wash and dry your basil leaves and place them in a jar alternating them with a layer of fine sea salt.
Even sage and rosemary, combined with salt, are fragrant comfort seasonings for the winter. In this case we prepare a flavored salt and the recipe is very simple as well as super customizable (you can mix the herbs you prefer, in the quantities you prefer): you have to wash and dry the leaves very well, cut them with a sharp crescent and place them in a jar with salt and ground pepper. To be kept in the refrigerator, or to be given away at Christmas!

DIY flavored salt

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3. Freeze
The fastest and most functional technique, and two herbs above all for which it lends itself perfectly: chives and parsley. Wash the leaves, dry them very well and cut them finely with a scissors or a sharp knife and then put them in the freezer in a plastic or glass food container or, if you need to save space, in a food bag. If necessary, you can use them in cooking directly from the freezer or, always frozen, as a seasoning or final garnish of any hot dish depending on your
taste.

How and where to use parsley

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4. Frozen in oil
Rosemary, sage,
thyme, oregano and all aromatic herbs with a more structured leaf can be stored in oil (or in broth) in the freezer for later use during cooking.
The quickest technique is to wash and roughly cut the herbs and then insert them in the ice cubes, which will be filled – each one – for two thirds with the desired herb and for the remaining third with the oil. Left to freeze in the freezer overnight, the flavored cubes can then be extracted from the tray and placed in space-saving bags (to be labeled with the name of the herb inserted). Each cube can contain a single variety of grass, or you can invent your favorite bouquets and combinations. All those herbs that plan to use raw or at the end of cooking do not lend themselves very well to this preservation technique.

4. Pesto
A great classic for storing herbs, and basil in particular, is basil pesto. Covered with oil in a closed jar, it will keep perfectly in the refrigerator, but if you prefer to stock up for the winter, you can also freeze it. The ideal in this case is to portion it fresh so as to thaw only the necessary from time to time, an excellent way to do it is once again that of the ice trays, from which a cube or more will be extracted from time to time depending on the amount of seasoning needed.

How to store tomatoes – Italian Cuisine

How to store tomatoes


Small tips to appreciate as long as possible that unmistakable taste of tomato that refers to the Mediterranean, to summer, to the carefree time of the holiday.

The tomato it is among the most loved vegetables, especially in the summer season when we can choose from dozens of quality and we can count on its freshness and its unmistakable summer scent. But after August and September, finding good tomatoes becomes impossible so it is important to start stocking up now. And we don't throw anything away from tomatoes: from the seeds, which you can keep and sow for the next season, up to the peel. Here are the preparations for storing tomatoes all year round.

The classic sauce

How many of you remember grandmothers and mothers struggling with the famous salsa at the end of August? Made strictly with San Marzano tomatoes it is easy to prepare, even if with due care when sterilizing the vessels.

Then wash the cans with water and place them inside a large pot, better put a tea towel between the jars so as not to move them during the boiling. Fill the pot with water and boil for 30 minutes. Once cooled, they must be pulled out of the water and allowed to drip upside down.
Separately, cut the tomatoes into small pieces and cook them without adding flavorings (at least a few basil leaves) and a handful of salt, turning them often. Cover them and cook (with the lid open) for about 40 minutes.
Pass the tomatoes with the vegetable mill, fill the jars directly, close them with the lids and turn them upside down.
The pots must be laid back in the first pan with the tea towels and left to boil for another 30 minutes. Once completely cooled they can be turned and placed in a pantry in a dark place. To test the success of the sterilization it is necessary to check the vacuum, if pressing the cap in the center it will turn out flat then everything is successful, otherwise the sterilization must be repeated.
If you like, you can avoid the passage with the vegetable mill and put the tomatoes in pieces.

Dry tomatoes

What extra touch do the dry tomatoes canapés, salads or fish sauces?

Preparing them is easy, you just need a little patience. Different varieties can be used: the Ciliegini, the Piccadilly or the San Marzano. A word of advice: the smaller they are, the better the result.

Tomatoes should be washed, cut in half or quarters, if they are larger, and dusted with salt. They should then be placed on grills, such as those used for barbecuing, and left in the sun for two or three weeks. Remember to turn them at least once a day, so that they dry on both sides evenly. At night they should be stored in an airy place. Together with the tomatoes you can dry onions or garlic in thin slices.
When dried, they can be kept in tightly closed containers for a few months.

Dried Tomatoes in Oil

For an even more delicious result, dried tomatoes can be put in oil. In this case, put an equal amount of water and vinegar in a saucepan and boil them for a few minutes. After draining them, dry them with paper towels and place them inside sterilized jars, pressing them well, so that no air bubbles form. Cover everything with extra virgin olive oil, remembering to leave a centimeter of space between the cap and the food. To flavor them, you can add capers, thyme, garlic cloves and oregano.

Finally, sterilize the cans with tomatoes in boiling water for about an hour: after this time, turn them upside down leaving them in this position until they have cooled down. To make sure that the vacuum, press on the cap, making sure that a notch has been created and that pressing does not make you feel the classic click-clack. If it should feel, the vacuum has failed.

After two weeks, the tomatoes are ready to be enjoyed.

Confit tomatoes

Appetizing and surprising, confit cherry tomatoes can be eaten alone or as a side dish for various dishes. The technique, imported from France, consists of long and low temperature cooking. The most suitable tomato for this preparation is the cherry: cut in half and place on the side of the pulp on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. The cherry tomatoes are sprinkled with a spoonful of sugar and a pinch of salt, and, if desired, they can be covered with thin strips of garlic. Bake everything at 150 degrees for about two hours: once ready, sprinkle with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and cover with basil or oregano leaves. They can be kept in the refrigerator, in a tightly closed jar, for a few weeks.

Tomato powder

As we said: nothing is thrown away from tomatoes! If you have cooked San Marzano chili, you will have a kitchen full of tomato peels to throw away … but no! All the skins that the vegetable mill will discard must be collected and distributed on the baking trays and left to dry in the oven at 60 ° for at least 4 hours. When they are dry, beat them with a mortar and store the powder obtained in airtight jars.
It will be useful in winter, when you want to give perfume to your pasta or character to stewed meat dishes.

Tomato water

If you watch the cooking programs or like to wander among the starred restaurants you will have seen that among the trends of gourmet dishes there has been tomato water for some years: fresh and acidic, it allows us to pretend to be chefs for a day adding originality to the dishes.
It goes well with spaghetti and Sorbillo knows that it cooks his own, with tomato, a concentrate of flavor, but it is also suitable for other preparations, jellied and added to the salad, perhaps octopus or used instead of juice. tomato for a Bloody Mary in transparency.
How is tomato water obtained?
As we said, nothing is thrown away from the tomato and while you are preparing a pasta, the tomato water is already beautiful: cut the perini in half, squeeze them, emptying them of liquid and seeds and filter the liquid with a dense mesh strainer. Otherwise you can peel and cut the tomatoes and put them in the mixer, then place the pulp on a towel suspended on a bowl and after 12 hours collect all the liquid.

How to store basil to have it even in winter – Italian Cuisine

How to store basil to have it even in winter


Among the aromatic plants, basil is the one that best represents Mediterranean cuisine. With its unmistakable and pervading scent, it is the ingredient that you cannot do without to give freshness, flavor and color to every dish. Keep it even after the summer? You can, here's how

From spring to late summer there is no balcony or even just a window sill from which the unmistakable terracotta pot in which the basil grows flourishes does not appear. King of aromatic plants, (its name in Greek means royal herb), it has always been used for its therapeutic qualities and to flavor foods. There are about 40 varieties, but the most common are the Genoese basil, very fragrant, and the Neapolitan basil, with a large leaf. Finding it fresh and fragrant in autumn and winter is at least complicated: for this, here are three ideas to keep it and enjoy it longer.

Freeze the leaves

It is a very easy method for storing basil. You have to collect the leaves, remove the seeds, wash them and dab them with paper towels. Once dry you must arrange them on a baking tray lined with aluminum foil and put them in the freezer for about two hours. Once frozen, you can put them gently in an airtight container and put everything in the freezer. When you need them, all you have to do is take the quantity you need. The leaves will retain their scent and color for several months.

Store the leaves in fine salt

Take a resealable jar and fill it with basil leaves previously washed and dried carefully, so that they do not become moldy. Pour over the leaves of the fine salt, making several layers of salt and basil. Fill up to 5 cm from the edge and then cover with more salt. Close the jar and place it in a cool and dry place: the leaves will keep for as long as you want. When you need it, just take them and add salt to the jar.

Freeze a base for pesto

If you want you can prepare one base that will be useful for quickly cooking pesto. Chop the cleaned basil with extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place the sauce in a glass container with a lid and freeze. At the time of use, all you have to do is thaw everything and add the parmesan, pecorino, garlic and chopped pine nuts to the sauce. A tip for singles: put the base for the pesto in the ice containers. If necessary, you will thaw only the dose you need.

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