Freezing Your Fennel Harvest
The two basic ways of freezing Fennel include the traditional ice cube method and the newer, more effective way of preserving the fresh leaves, the vacuum sealer. Depending on how you plan to use the Fennel, either method is affective in preserving the sweet flavor of Fennel.
Traditional Ice Cube Method
The traditional method of freezing Fennel is to chop the herb up fine and suspend the chopped herbs in a little water before freezing.
Salad Spinner or two clean absorbent kitchen towels
Kitchen shears or chopping knife and chopping board
Ice Cube trays
Fresh tap water
1. Pick through the fresh Fennel, removing damaged leaves and tough stems and rinse. Gently spin dry or pat dry between two kitchen towels to remove as much moisture as possible.
2. Chop up the Fennel, removing tough stems, and place a teaspoon or two into each compartment of the ice cube trays.
3. Top off with water and freeze in the freezer.
STORAGE: Once the ice cubes have frozen, remove the herb cubes and store in an air tight freezer bag or jar in your freezer.
USES: These Fennel ice cubes can be used in sauces and soups. To use the herb as fresh in salad dressings or dishes with little liquid content, melt the ice cube either in a fine strainer placed over a glass to catch the water or place the cube in a glass until melted and strain through a sieve to remove the Fennel from the water. Add to the recipe as required.
Vacuum Sealer Method
This method allows for great color, texture and flavor retention by keeping the sprigs whole and air tight. I feel it is the best way to store pungent herbs such as Fennel.
Vacuum sealer with appropriate bag material
Salad Spinner or clean absorbent kitchen towels
Kitchen shears or paring knife
1. Wash and gently spin dry or blot with kitchen towels to remove excess moisture.
2. Snip or cut off tough woody stems and discolored or damaged leaves.
3. Make a bag from the roll material large enough to hold the sprigs of Fennel and allow space between the herb and the final seal and seal one end.
4. Label bag with contents and date sealed.
5. Place herb sprigs into the bag.
6. Place bag end into the sealer and vacuum seal.
7. Place in the freezer flat. After the bags have frozen solid, they can be stored upright, taking up little space in the freezer.