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Freezing your herbs is a great way to preserve them. You will find that the resulting product when used is a lot more like the fresh herbs – than when they are dried. Although they don’t retain the crispness of fresh herbs, freezing is a great way to save and store – especially when you have an excess.
And freezing also keeps your herbs free of mold and pests, too.
Frozen herbs do tend to act and taste more like fresh herbs in recipes, and you don’t need to thaw them before use unless you’re putting them in something raw, like a salad.
Imaging always having herbs at hand ready to be dropped into soups, stews, salad dressings, pasta sauces … or tangy herb butters always ready to be added to recipes …
Herb Recommendations For Freezing
You can freeze most herbs, but here are what I use the most and always have great success with: Basil, chervil, cilantro, coriander, dill, fennel, marjoram, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory and tarragon. Below is my freshly picked and prepared nasturtium – which is a peppery favorite in my home!
Read on for how to freeze your herbs …
5 Ways To Freeze Fresh Herbs
1 – Freeze Herbs Whole
You may want your herbs stored in large pieces, including the stems and/or large leaves. Simply wash and pat the pieces dry. Place the pieces into a ziplock bag, arranging them as flat as possible. Extract as much of the air out of the bag as you can.
Quick tip: I put the end of a straw into the bag, zip the zipper almost closed onto the straw – then suck out the excess air. Then immediately zip the rest of the opening closed. Who needs a vacuum sealing machine when your can do it for free!
2 – Freeze Herbs In Ice Cubes in Water
This is my favorite easy-peasy method. I have found the easiest way to freeze my herbs is to simple pop them into some water in ice cube trays. This makes it delightfully easy to take out exactly the required amount for when you are cooking.
First gather, wash and clean the herbs. Decide if you want to use the stems or not, and remove any unwanted plant parts.
Dice into fine pieces and pack tightly into the ice cube tray.
Then top each compartment up with just enough water to cover the plant material. Make sure all the plant material is covered but not by a lot.
Then put the tray straight into the freezer.
Once the ice cubes are frozen, take them out of the trays and put the cubes into a freezer bag – so that they are free flow for ease of use.
The best thing about having herbs in this way, is that it is so easy to grab one or two cubes – whenever you need it – to put straight into your stock, stew, roast etc. It makes spicing up meals in a hurry very quick.
3 – Freeze Herbs In Ice Cubes in Oil
This makes a delightful herb oil or paste – depending on how much oil to herb you choose – and the resulting product can be used in dressings and many other recipes. Freezing in oil helps the aromatic flavor of the of herbs to be retained.
Wash, prepare and dry the herbs thoroughly. Place the herbs into a blender with an oil of your choice. A good ratio is around 1 cup fresh herbs to 1/4 cup of oil. Olive oil works great … but you can also use coconut, sesame or almost any other oil that is yummy.
Blend the mix until smooth-ish, pour it into ice cube trays and put into the freezer. Do not add any water to this mix. Once frozen you can transfer then to a freezer bag.
Herbs frozen in this way are best used within about three months. You can also just make a batch and store it in your fridge, if you will be using a lot of it. These herb oils will keep for a week or more under refrigeration.
4 – Easy Freezing Herbs
If the above two methods are a little too fiddly for you, an easier way is to freeze the herbs flat in a bag. Wash and chop as above, put into your ziplock bag and add water or oil into the bag to cover. Squish the bag a little to mix and coat the herbs. Then lay the bag flat in the freezer so it freezes in a thin layer..
To use, you can just leave the herb “plate” in the same bag and break of pieces as needed. Or, once frozen, you can break the whole thing up and store in pieces in a separate bag.
5 – Frozen Herb Butter
This is a fantastic way to always have a very tasty spread. It is also a great addition to cooking. Use them over vegetables or meat dishes, use to sauté or as a marinade. Butter onto savory scones or bread, use in a pasta sauce ..
Herb butters have so many uses that I will leave it up to your imagination.
You can mix and match different herbs. And you might like to include extras that will also handle freezing well. Consider adding grated citrus rind, grated ginger or even garlic. Use your imagination to really zing up those herb butters!
Prepare and dice the herb(s) and blend with softened butter. The best ratio is 1 part herb to 2 parts butter.
For freezing, think first of how you will be using the butter. You may like to shape it into a log so you can slice off pieces as needed. You can use the ice cube method for individual pieces. Or you can freeze the herb butter flat in bags – for great ease of use.
As a quick note, many people prefer to use either tin foil or waxed paper to store / freeze their herb butters in – rather than plastic
How To Use Frozen Herbs
If you want to use your frozen herbs in a fresh, raw salad, then you will need to thaw them out first. But of course this can take almost no time at all. You can speed the thawing process up by dropping the herb ice cubes into some warmish water. If you are using them to cook with you won’t need to drain them. But to use them fresh, drain them, pat them dry … and wha-laa – they are really to add to your recipe or sprinkled over the top of your meal.
Final Notes On Freezing Herbs:
It is a good idea to make sure to write the herb name and date of freezing onto the bag – before putting them into your freezer. It is best if you use herbs frozen in water within a couple of months. Oil frozen herbs will keep well for up to three months. And herb Butters will store well in the freezer for up to one year.