Bouquet Garni Preparation and Storage
Answered by: Yvonne Tremblay
Question from: Rick
Posted on: December 27, 2003

I’m making a bouquet garni out of fresh herbs. How long will my bundle last in a airtight bag in the refrigerator? Can the herbs be frozen in the cheese cloth sack in the baggie or foil? Also if the herbs get old or mold can they be harmful if used.

Depending on the type of herbs you use, the bouquet garni will last anywhere from 3 to 5 days. Delicate herbs such as basil, cilantro, parsley, etc. will wilt more easily than rosemary, thyme or sage. Use kitchen string to loosely but securely tie the herbs together. (Or, wrap in cheesecloth bag and tie.) Place in a plastic bag or, place damp paper towel in the bottom of a small plastic container and place the bundles on top and close. The idea is to create a little, moist eco-system for the herbs.

Freezing changes the cell structure of fresh herbs, so some of the flavour will be lost. If you wish to freeze them, I recommend wrapping bundles tightly with plastic wrap then placing in plastic freezer baggies or plastic freezer containers. You want to prevent dehydration, freezer burn and flavour transfer from other foods while stored. If herbs are old, they will have lost their flavour oils and not add anything to your cooking. If they are moldy, they will taint the flavour of the food and possibly cause illness. Discard if not good quality due to age or improper storage.

NOTE: Bouquet Garni is a French term to describe a small bunch of fresh herbs. It consists of one bay leaf, a sprig of thyme and several sprigs of parsley, complete with stems. The parsley is usually wrapped on the outside of the bunch to prevent the thyme leaves form being knocked off during cooking. The bunch is tied with a piece of kitchen string, with a long strand that is draped over the edge of the pot so it can be easily removed after flavour has been imparted to the food. It is used in stews, ragouts, soups and meat casseroles. They can be made using other fresh herbs as well as citrus peel (lemon, orange).

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