Jul 6, 2023
Dill is one of the most versatile herbs around. It’s very easy to grow, and with proper care, you have more than you can use within a month. The herb is expensive, but a little goes a long way. It’s fantastic for dips and makes salmon come alive like no other.
Dill is also one of the herbs that spoil quickly. It goes bad in just a few hours once it wilts. And it will only keep in the fridge for 10 days. Freezing is good, but what happens when you don’t have room or the power’s out. If you have too much dill in your hands and don’t want to waste this well-rounded herb? Here’s how to freeze dry dill so you can have your all-year supply of fresh flavor without worrying about spoilage.
Choose the freshest dill when the herb is young and tender. Consider this whether you’re using dill from your garden or from a great sale at the supermarket. Not only does dill at this stage has its most flavor, but you can also freeze dry them easily.
Cleaning is of utmost importance, especially if you bought the dill from the supermarket. First, rinse the leaves well under running water to take out surface dirt. Once you’ve got all the dill leaves and stalks clean, drain as much water as possible. Then pat dry with paper towels to take out excess moisture.
Don’t airdry the dill because you’ll lose that bright, fresh flavor. When you freeze dry, you preserve the state the herb is at the moment. So if you freeze dry when the herb is wilted, you won’t get as much flavor.
Stems can prolong the freeze-drying time and can also get tough. Take out as many stems as you can so that you can. It’s better to do this by hand than using a sharp knife. It’s painstaking work, but it’s worth it.
Here you can choose whether or not to cut the leaves for convenience. The thing is, when you cut the leaves, you risk exposing the essential oils and flavor. But short stems make it easy to freeze dry the dill. But once the herb is freeze-dried, you can easily crunch the leaves into smaller pieces.
Pre-freezing is an option when it comes to herbs. Your freeze dryer can freeze food at temperatures -30°F (-34°C) to -50°F (-45°C). Some go for pre-freezing because it can help shorten your freeze-drying time and make your system efficient. Especially when you have a loaded freeze dryer.
Some herbs don’t respond well to freezing, just like Basil. This is because freezing in the deep freezer is only up to 0°F (-18 °C). This is called slow freezing and causes the water in the cell to expand and damage the cell wall. That’s why after freezing, you see your herbs having that different kind of appearance and texture. If you plan to pre-freeze using this method, use the freeze dryer tray as your container if possible. This will prevent a sudden drop in temperature that can cause your dill to thaw.
The faster way to freeze dill and preserve its appearance, if you prefer, is flash freezing. You can do this by using food-grade liquid nitrogen or food-grade dry ice. Because the water in the leaves freezes almost instantly, there’s no room for big ice crystals to form. This means your leaves will retain their form as it is. This is why flash freezing is one of the best ways to preserve flowers for freeze-drying.
Once your dill is ready, it’s time to freeze-dry them.
The process can take between 16-36 hours, depending on:
But we recommend that you freeze dry herbs only with dill. This herb has a strong flavor and aroma that will also seep through other food in the dryer.
You should get dry, crunchy, airy leaves when they’re done. You get an ASMR kind of thing going when you touch the leaves. If any leaves feel moist, soft, and cool to the touch, add 1-3 hours of additional drying time. Don’t take too long because you might dry the leaves out too much.
Mylar bags are always the best option for long-term storage. They are compact, lightweight, and effective in keeping away light and moisture from your herb.
Mason jars will also work because they show you how much dill you have left. If you plan to use the freeze-dried dill regularly, there are small Mason jars you can use. This way, you can keep small amounts of dill to use in your kitchen. No more worries about opening and closing large amounts of freeze-dried dill.
Whatever you use for long-term storage, always add oxygen absorbers. About one to two pieces of 300cc OAs are good per gallon. We’re talking container size, by the way, and not food weight.
Your freeze-dried dill will last for 25 years or more if you store them properly. Keep the bags or jars away from heat by maintaining a storage room temperature below 72°F (22 °C). Don’t let it get wet or have sunlight exposure.
How much dill do you plan to freeze dry? Let us know in the comment section.
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