Steps for Freezing Herbs
Freezing herbs is the fastest, easiest way to keep herbs for cooking. It's also the best way to preserve their flavors and aromas, as well as most of their nutritional value.
Herbs that freeze well are:
Keep in mind that freezing softens their texture, so frozen herbs are best for cooked dishes, as well as soups and salad dressings.
Do Herbs Need Blanched?
Not all herbs freeze well. Some contain enzymes that cause the cut edges to turn black when frozen. These types of herbs need to be blanched to destroy the enzymes, then quickly cooled before freezing.
You'll have to experiment with freezing herbs to see what works best for you.
How to Blanch Herbs:
- Strip the leaves off stems before blanching them because hot water wilts the leaves, making them difficult to handle.
- Use a tea strainer to dip them for a few seconds in boiling water, then quickly submerge in ice water for 2 minutes to cool them.
Freezing Herbs, Step by Step
- Wash and shake them dry. Gently blot with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
- Strip the leaves off the stems before you freeze them. You can freeze the leaves whole, or chop them first.
- Put herbs in an air tight container. Seal them in freezer bags, squeezing out the extra air. You can pack each type of herb separately, or mixed, ready to use for recipes. Place the plastic bags in a larger container in the freezer to avoid being crushed.
- Label your containers. It'll make it easier to identify those frozen bits of green things several weeks from now. It's a good idea to write the date on the bag, too. Frozen herbs are best when used within a couple months.
Chopped chives (shown here) are topped with olive oil before being frozen in ice cube trays.
Another easy way of freezing herbs is to make herb ice cubes. Chop fresh leaves finely by hand or puree in a food processor. Add a little water then put in ice cube trays. Or if you prefer, you can pour olive oil over them instead. Once frozen, you can store the cubes in a freezer bag.
Herb ice cubes are easy to use -- just drop them into sauces, soups or stews as they simmer. Each cube equals one tablespoon of herbs.
To make Mint Ice Cubes: Freeze whole mint leaves with water in an ice cube tray. Drop the frozen mint cubes into iced tea or any cold beverage.
Indoor Herb Gardens