Herbs are greens that are aromatic and can be used in cooking for garnishing and flavor, as medicine, or even as fragrances. One can also use herbs for spiritual practices. Freezing fresh herbs from your home garden is a great way to extend the summer season’s bounty.
Drying fresh herbs is a preservation method, but certain herbs can rot or catch mold before drying out. For herbs like chives, basil, cilantro, dill, and mint, it is better to freeze them for preservation.
Frozen herbs can become limp after freezing them, but their flavor remains in place as their essential oils stay intact. Dried herbs need to be used sparingly as they have concentrated flavor. One can include frozen herbs after thawed in the same proportion. Read on to know all about freezing herbs.
Herbs That Freeze Well
Freezing herbs is a quick and easy method for preserving fresh herbs for later use. However, some herbs freeze better than others. It is important for you to know the list of these herbs. The following herbs freeze best using a freezer.
- sweet woodruff
Tips For Freezing Herbs
Freezing herbs comes with practice. Here are a few tips to help you with it.
Ensure that you are harvesting the healthiest bunch of leaves. Avoid leaves that are brown and chewed on by insects. Since older leaves already have less flavor, it is not advisable to put in the effort of freezing them. If you have less space in the freezer, you can freeze herbs in small batches.
You can stack paper plates over each other and freeze fresh herbs. Fresh herbs with a woody stem, such as rosemary, oregano, and the thyme herb, consist of low water content. Therefore, they are better off dried than frozen.
Make sure that your freezer temperature is at zero degrees.
Use a container to freeze herbs. You can store the herbs by simply placing them in a plastic freezer bag, airtight glass jar, or freezer-safe airtight container.
1. Freezing Bare Herbs
You can freeze many fresh herbs with the stems and store them in an airtight container. Hardier herbs such as rosemary, thyme, dill, sage, and bay can be spread on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer. After the fresh herbs are frozen, you can put them in an airtight container for storage in the freezer without clumping.
You can then remove a sprig at a time when you want to use it. Chives can be frozen bare without minimal loss in flavor.
2. Freezing In Water
In this method, you can freeze fresh herbs as ice cubes. This freezing results in ice cubes with herbs that you can toss into sauce. However, if your recipe asks for lesser herbs than those present in an ice cube, you will have to thaw it.
Chop one-third of the herbs and run them under cool water. It would be best if you then pat the herbs dry using towels. Remember that you need to get rid of all the water before you freeze herbs. Next, you will have to cut the leaves from the stalk.
Although the leaves can be frozen whole, we ask you to cut them so that you can easily use them in your recipes. You can fill one tablespoon of cut herbs into every space in the ice cube tray. You need to note down the measurement you are using.
Next, you have to fill the ice cube tray spaces half with water. All the herbs need to be immersed in the water. You then need to place the ice cube tray in the freezer for at least one hour. After the ice cubes are formed, top it off using water. Next, place the tray into the freezer again.
When you want to use the herbs in recipes, you can toss the ice cube into the recipe. The water will not make too much of a difference to the recipe.
3. Freezing In Oil
Basil freezes the best when processed into pesto, but it works pretty well with other herbs like thyme and oregano for soup recipes, sauces, and other recipes where you add oil. It would be best if you began by removing the stem of the fresh herbs. Next, add one cup of fresh herbs to olive oil and mix them together in a food processor.
Blend them using pulsing and transfer them to ice cube trays. After freezing them, place them into a container so that they stay suitable for an extended period. If you want to retain the entire leaves, separate the leaves from the stem. Keep them in ice cube trays and cover them in oil. You can freeze fresh herbs.
4. Rolled Herbs
Flat-leaf fresh herbs such as sage and parsley can be easily compressed and then rolled for efficiently storing them. You need to squeeze the leaves tightly into the bottom area of the bag and seal the bag. You then need to roll the bag all around the bundled-up herbs.
Later, you can secure the bundle with a twine or rubber band and place it in the freezer. These rolled herbs can then be used whenever required in recipes.
Now that we have seen how to freeze herbs, the next step is appropriately storing them. You can keep the herbs in freezer bags or a container sealed tight to stay fresh and last for longer.
The longer it stays fresh, the better you can incorporate it in all your dishes. The storage of herbs is essential. Since herbs’ aroma is something significant to its uses, you need to make sure to take care of this part.
6. Label It
A great way to store your herbs in containers or bags is by naming them or labeling them. You can use a permanent marker and mark the name of the herb you want to freeze, the quantity of the herb, and the date you have frozen it.
You can try labeling the herbs even when using a cookie sheet, although it might not be as easy as labeling bags.
This article was about how to freeze herbs, but not limited to it. The article has spoken about how olive oil can help freeze herbs to store and label them. You need to chop the herbs in all of these methods and remove their stems.
The best part is that these methods are used to preserve the herbs. As these chopped herbs are preserved, the aroma and taste remain even after months. You can then use them for cooking your favorite recipes. You will have to prepare before you start to chop the herbs though, as you first need to make sure you are ready with all the required products.
You need to buy a plastic freezer bag, ice cube trays, and herbs if you don’t have a garden at home. Once you practice these methods to preserve herbs, it will become increasingly easy for you to do. You will also learn how to store them efficiently. You can then incorporate them into your soups and dishes.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.