from the Garden
How to Freeze Herbs
Instructions for Freezing Herbs:
Freezing herbs is the best way of storing your produce long-term while retaining the vitamin and nutritional content. Freeze the herbs as soon after harvest as possible for the highest vitamin content and consistency.
Freezing herbs can also be economical. Pick up extra when it is cheapest (in season), and then freeze the herbs to enjoy all year.
How to freeze herbs: General Guidelines
- For the best quality when freezing herbs, it is best to freeze them quickly (at zero degrees).
- Keep a freezer thermometer in your freezer.
- Use quality freezer containers to help prevent freezer-burn.
- Only use unblemished herbs.
- Remove as much air as possible from the container before sealing it.
- When labeling, record the item being frozen and the date. This will help you use the oldest items first.
- If there's any discoloration, don't be alarmed. The taste shouldn't be affected.
Harvest the young stems before the flowers open. Cut into bit sized pieces and blanch in boiling water for 1 minute. Place immediately in iced water to cool for 1 minute. (This prevents over cooking.) Drain and dry the pieces. Place in freezer containers, remove air, label and freeze.
You can also harvest and freeze tender young leaves.
There are several popular ways to freeze basil for long term storage:
Option 1: Wash the basil leaves. Chop finely and place in ice cube trays. Fill with water and freeze. When frozen, remove from the trays and store frozen cubes in freezer air-tight bags in your freezer. Thaw cubes as needed for use in cooking.
Option 2: Blend basil leaves in your food processor or blender. Add enough olive oil to make a paste. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze. When frozen, remove from the trays and store frozen cubes in freezer air-tight bags in your freezer. Thaw paste and use in cooking.
Option 3: For the closest semblance (other than transplanting your plants for use as houseplants) to fresh basil: Put a layer of sea salt in the bottom of a container. Place the basil leaves in a single layer (don’t overlap the leaves) on top of the salt. Then a layer of sea salt… and another layer of basil, etc. Store in the fridge or in a cool location. The texture will change a bit, but the leaves will stay usable and the flavor good for months.
Use your basil to season tomato based pasta dishes, fresh breads, in salad dressings or sprinkled on your pizza!
Instructions for freezing chives:
Chives can be frozen very easily. Simply wash, and pat dry. Snip into a usable size, and spread out in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet in the freezer, until the chives are completely frozen. Then repackage them into airtight containers and return to the freezer.
Instructions for freezing dill:
Freezing dill seems to be the best option in retaining the flavor of the leaves. Try chopping it and placing it in ice cube trays. Fill the trays with water and freeze. Then pop out the cubes and store in freezer bags or containers in your freezer. Use the cubes as needed in your cooking recipes.
Instructions for freezing Lemon Balm:
Wash your lemon balm stems and pat them dry. Place on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. Once frozen, remove and strip the leaves from the stem. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.
Or, chop the fresh leaves (after washing) and place them in ice cube trays. Fill the trays with water and freeze. When frozen, pop out the cubes and store in an airtight container in the freezer.
Instructions for freezing Mint:
Mint can be frozen very easily. Simply wash, and pat dry. Remove any imperfect leaves. Spread stems out in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet in the freezer, until the mint is completely frozen. Then repackage it into airtight containers and return to the freezer.
You may also want to try chopping the mint and placing it in ice cube trays. Fill the trays with water, and freeze. Pop the ice cubes out and store in an airtight container in the freezer.
Instructions for freezing oregano:
Wash oregano stems, and pat dry. Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and place in your freezer. Once frozen, separate the leaves from the stems, and place the leaves in an airtight container. Return the container with the oregano leaves to the freezer.
Instructions for freezing parsley:
Option 1: Wash and pat dry parsley leaves. Spread out on a cookie sheet, with no overlap. Place in the freezer until frozen. Remove and store frozen leaves in an airtight container in your freezer.
Option 2: Wash and chop the leaves. Fill an ice cube tray with the leaves. Add water to fill the cups of the ice cube tray. Place in freezer until the cubes are frozen. Pop the cubes out and store in an airtight container in your freezer. Thaw when needed, or just pop an ice cube or two into your soup or sauce.
Instructions for freezing Rosemary:
Freezing Rosemary is the closest way of preserving that you’ll find to that of the fresh rosemary taste and texture. It’s actually one of the simplest processes. First wash your rosemary sprigs. Then pat them dry. Once fully dry, place in containers and store in your freezer. To save space, you can remove them from the containers (once frozen), strip the leaves and store the leaves in space-saving containers in your freezer.
Instructions for freezing sage:
Sage keeps its flavor best when frozen, but isn’t as visually pleasing. Wash sprigs of sage and pat them dry. Place them on cookie sheets and place in the freezer. Once frozen, remove from freezer and strip the leaves. Place the leaves in an airtight container and store in the freezer. Frozen sage stores well for up to 1 year.
Instructions for Freezing thyme:
Freezing thyme seems to be the best way for it to retain it’s flavor in storage. Wash the branches and pat them dry. Place on cookie sheets and freeze. Once frozen, strip off the leaves and place in an airtight container and place back in the freezer.
Tips From Our Readers:
Have a great suggestion or story to share about freezing herbs? Submit your own tips to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: the advice and information contained herein is based upon our experience and study. As with any advice, please apply at your own discretion.