Disclosure: As part of this review, I received samples from Ball Brands. The opinions expressed are my own.
Do you love growing herbs and your own garden veggies? I love home-grown food, even if my skills in growing are barely adequate.
Let me share the new things I learned thanks to the cool tools from Ball Brands.
Normally, I harvest basil leaves only when it's time to make a salad. But when the basil is growing like crazy, I need another option or two.
First, I tested out the Ball Herb Starter trays. These snazzy silicone trays are the perfect size for making frozen cubes of herbs. They come with a lid and are flexible so you can pop your frozen herbs right out.
I grabbed 10-12 sprigs of basil leaves and followed the instructions included in the kit. First, I rinsed the leaves in cool runing water. Then, I boiled some water in a large measuring cup to blanche the leaves. It only takes 2-3 seconds. Finally, you dunk the leaves into an ice bath. These prep steps help lock in the flavors for freezing.
Then, I grabbed my Ball 5-Blade Herb Shears and started cutting the leaves over the freezer trays. The scissors easily cut through the leaves and even through the stalk with a good grip. I'd stick to leafy herbs as more hardy herbs like rosemary may be too woody for fine mincing. The best part is the Cover/Cleaning tool. In a snap, I cleaned all the basil off the blades and felt a bit safer with a snug cover on the scissors.
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I only filled two of the nine spots in the tray with my harvest. As recommended, I popped my frozen starter cubes out and put them into a freezer-safe jar. The labels in the kit went on my jar. While you could fill the tray with a variety of herbs, I feel like my cubes might get mixed up. I'd recommend batches of one herb at a time. A typical recipe will use 1-2 starters.
Ball has also created a Fresh Herb Keeper that helps the herbs stand up in a little bit of water in the fridge. It's just the right size to hold my extra harvest of basil and sits snugly on my fridge shelf. I'd recommend just keeping one type of herb in it at a time. I tried stuffing an entire bunch of cilantro from the store in and the keeper seemed a bit small. A half a bundle fit a bit better but was still tight. You can change the water in the bottom tray by just pouring it out every few days.
Finally, Ball has Dried Herb Jars with snap-open dispenser tabs. I've never had so much "extra" basil that I could dry it it. I gave it a try and realized the same 10-12 stalks dried to about 1 teaspoon of basil. It barely covered the bottom of the jar. The jars seems small when I first opened them, but after calculating how much basil I'd need to dry to fill them, the 4-ounce size was plenty big. I concluded the best way to use them was to make blends of my favorite herbs and spices so I'm ready to cook. Then label the jar so you remember what you mixed!
The Green Ball Jars are so gorgeous just as they are! Perfect for cut flowers. I'm hoping to try canning my first batch of dill pickles on Saturday, August 16th for International Can-It-Forward Day.
What would you do with all these tools? Enter to win a prize pack in our International Can-It-Forward Giveaway!
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