Today I’m on my way home from the gorgeous environs of Jackson Hole, Wyoming where the weekend was full of golf, laughter, grilled meat, mountains, friends and wine. I asked my buddy Mary to draw from a hat full of names (really full – thanks for all the emails and comments – I love hearing from you) and … drumroll, please …The winner of the Basic Hard Cheese Kit and Ricki Carroll’s Home Cheese Making is Pieces. Congratulations! I’ll get the kit and book out to you this week.
Look for more giveaways in the future!
I should be better about keeping up with succession planting, but I’m not. If a space opens up in the garden It’s filled quickly enough, but I never remember to sow radishes or carrots, corn or cilantro two weeks apart to ensure a steady harvest. As a result, I recently had a glut of cilantro.
It happens every year. You can dry the leaves, but last year I discovered I could freeze cilantro. When there’s extra basil at the end of the summer I puree it, pack it into ice cube trays, freeze it and then drop the frozen cubes into sauces and soups all winter. Cilantro requires a little different process, but the fresh flavor throughout the year is worth it.
Pick the cilantro, and strip the leaves from the stems. If it’s starting to bolt, including a few flowers won’t hurt anything.
Put the leaves in a large bowl of ice water and allow to soak for ten minutes or so. Then gently swish clean and dry in a salad spinner. Spread the clean cilantro on a towel and allow to dry thoroughly. It’s imperative that there isn’t any water at all on the leaves.
Pack it into ziptop freezer bags in handfuls. You can fit a lot into a bag and it’s still easy to retrieve just a small amount if that’s all you need. Then remove absolutely all the air you can from the bags. I use a straw inserted in an almost closed bag, suck all the air out, and close it really fast. Stop laughing.
Toss the bags in the freezer. They last until used up or your next harvest. I know because I still have a small bag from last year. And I’m going to use it to make Summer Garden Stew, which is also a good way to use green tomatoes and squash blossoms. I’ll post the recipe on Hearth Cricket next Friday.
And once more, Congratulations to Pieces!