Learning how to freeze fresh herbs is a great way to ensure your summer extras stay fresh until winter. Follow our easy tips for freezing herbs so you can enjoy the bounty from your garden all year round:
1. Wash the herbs and pat them dry, spread them in a single layer on a pan, and put the pan in the freezer.
Note: Chop chives and lemongrass before you freeze them. These herbs are thin and will freeze in minutes.
2. Put the frozen herbs into labeled, sealed containers, and store them in the freezer. Push all the air out of plastic containers before sealing them. In most cases, you don't need to thaw the herbs before use.
Herbs that Freeze Well
Try these: basil, borage, chives, dill (better frozen than dried), lemongrass, mint, oregano, sage, savory (both winter and summer), sorrel (better frozen than dried), sweet woodruff, tarragon, thyme
Check the temperature of your freezer to ensure it maintains the proper temperature for food storage. Freezers should be 0 degrees F.
These vessels are the best for freezer-bound foods:
Take a moment to label foods before storing them. Use a wax crayon or waterproof marking pen to note the name of the herb, the quantity, and the date it was frozen.
Another tasty way to freeze herbs is to mix them with oil and freeze in ice cube trays. Make a paste by mixing 1/3 cup oil with 2 cups fresh herbs in a blender until smooth. The paste freezes beautifully in sealed jars or in ice cube trays that are thoroughly wrapped to make them airtight. You can also remove the cubes and store them in a plastic freezer bag. The paste will keep for about a week in the refrigerator. In winter, retrieve a frozen paste cube to give a fresh taste to your dishes. Herbs that are good candidates for grinding into paste include basil, chervil, cilantro, coriander, dill, fennel, marjoram, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, and tarragon.
Herbs can be frozen to make decorative ice cubes for party drinks. Freeze strawberries and their leaves, mint sprigs, and woodruff sprigs into an ice ring or block. Boil the water first to make it clear. Once it has cooled, fill the bottom of the mold with the boiled water and freeze. Arrange the herbs you plan to freeze, then continue adding water until the mold is filled.
Freezing isn't your only option for preserving your herbs long-term—you can also dry them. There are a few different methods for drying herbs, including air-drying and microwave-oven drying. To air-dry your herbs, gather three to six stems together and secure with string, yarn, or a rubber band. Hang the bundles upside down in a dry, dark place (sunlight robs color, fragrance, and flavor). A well-ventilated attic or basement are both good options. Your herbs will be fully dry within a few weeks (maybe even quicker!). Before cooking with your herbs, make sure the plants are brittle, then remove the leaves and store them in airtight jars or bags.