by Tammy Taylor
I’ve had more than my fair share of difficulty in the veggie garden this year, the torrential rain has made growing veggies all but impossible – then the heat & grasshoppers got their turn at decimating our veggie garden. (Yes thank you, I’ll take some cheese with my whine, and I’ll have it on the verandah if you please… 😉 ) But there has been a ray of sunshine in my gardening endeavors this year – my edible landscape! I’ve had some herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage and basil survive the weather and the grasshoppers. Now given the fact that I won’t be harvesting & enjoying anything from my veggie garden soon, I’m sure having a blast experimenting with ways to fully use these aromatic herbs. I’d heard before about making ‘Flavor Bombs’ from various herbs and olive oil, so I figured I’d give it a try. Turns out I really like them! UPDATE – Even though this post states that I didn’t invent this procedure but read about it somewhere in the past, I’ve been told I’m not allowed to call ’em Flavor Bombs for copyright reasons. So I guess from now on I’ll call them… Herb Bombs!
Here’s what I did: Early in the morning when the dew had just dried from the herbs I went outside to my front porch and gathered some stems – a few sprigs of rosemary, a small fistful of thyme, a stem of basil and a small stem of sage. I brought them inside, washed them and got to chopping.
I minced everything as small as I could and I pulled out two cloves of garlic and minced them as well. I could have just pressed them with the garlic press but I figured that minced would offer the perfect texture I was looking for. Then I mixed all my minced herbs and garlic into a bowl and poured some extra virgin olive oil on top, stirring to mix everything together completely.
(deep breath) Oh my goodness that smells divine and my mind is racing with all the things I might be able to flavor with it. My first thought is to use these Herb Bombs to flavor my brown rice since I typically saute the rice for just a few minutes in oil to intensify the rice flavor, or to light saute fresh garden veggies, but I’m sure there are many things these convenient flavored cubes would be great for!
After I get everything mixed together I pulled out my ice cube tray. Those flimsy things you buy at the dollar store have always frustrated me so I have these heavy duty *ice cube trays with covers. Turns out they work PERFECTLY for this! I drop about a tablespoon of my herb mixture into each ice cube section and the amount of herbs I minced made 8 cubes. Then it was time to get these babies in the freezer.
Now even though I have a heavy-duty covered ice cube tray, these herbs are certainly aromatic and I don’t want to take the chance that they will flavor other items in our freezer such as ice cream and such, so after I snapped the lid on the tray I then slipped a repurposed bread bag over the whole shebangie and used a twist tie to close it up securely. Now all that’s left to do is wait for them to freeze.
When they were frozen solidly I brought them out and used a small spoon to gently pry the Herb-Bombs from the ice cube trays and they came out easily. Since the olive oil begins melting even with just the warmth of my skin I quickly placed the Flavor Bombs in a small zippered bag and put it in my freezer.
The beauty of these Herb-Bombs is that you can adjust them to suit your taste. Want crushed red pepper in them? Add it! Want parsley in them? Add it! Whatever herbs you enjoy cooking with can be used with these Herb-Bombs. And since they’re ready & waiting right there in your own freezer, you have a healthy yet convenient flavor-aid right at your fingertips!
Here’s how I made my Flavor Bombs:
Fresh Herb & Olive Oil Herb-Bombs
Fresh herbs minced and frozen with olive oil in ice cube trays can be a quick flavor boost for rice or sauteed veggies. See my tutorial for these easy-to-make HERB BOMBS!
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary, minced
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Sage, minced
- 1.5 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme, minced
- 1.5 Tablespoon Fresh Basil, minced
Mince all herbs and mix together in a bowl. Mince or press 2 cloves of garlic and add to the bowl with the herbs. Pour enough olive oil to thoroughly coat and gently stir to incorporate all ingredients. Drop approximately 1 Tablespoon into each ice cube tray compartment. Press herbs down to compact contents and add a little additional olive oil if needed to cover herbs.
Cover ice cube tray securely to keep aromas from flavoring other items in the freezer and place tray in freezer until completely frozen. When thoroughly frozen remove from ice trays by gently prying with a small spoon if necessary and quickly place Flavored Herb Bombs in a labeled freezer container for future use.
To use, place a herb bomb in a bowl on the counter top until thawed and then stir into food to flavor. To use to flavor rice, drop herb-bomb in pan and use melting oil & herbs to saute brown rice for about 3-4 minutes, then cook & serve rice as usual. To use to flavor simmering soups or broth, drop frozen herb-bomb directly into simmering recipes to flavor as the broth cooks.
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