Have you had a bumper crop of herbs from the garden this year? By freezing them, using this simple method, you will be able to enjoy your harvest throughout the year.
Fresh is generally considered to be best when using herbs to enhance your recipes. However depending on the season and climate this is not always possible. By freezing many popular herbs you have the option to enjoy fresh, tasty, nutritious home grown herbs no matter what whenever you need them.
This method works best for soft herbs such as basil, parsley, chives, mint, oregano, cilantro and dill as these are usually either eaten raw or added just for a few minutes of cooking (please see below for notes on how to freeze harder or slightly woody herbs).
1. Rinse your chosen herb thoroughly in cold wáter to eliminate any posible bugs
2. Finely chop your herb
3. Spoon in the chopped herb into a clean ice cube tray making sure to pack quite tightly
4. Cover with water and place in the freezer for 12 – 24 hours
5. You can also cover with stock or olive oil depending on your preference
6. Once fully frozen pop the cubes out and place in a labelled freezer bag or container (removing as much air
7. When needed for cooking just take out a cube and add it to the dish that’s cooking (thawing first is optional – remember to account for the extra liquid in your recipe depending on how tightly you packed the herbs).
Alternatively you can freeze some of the herbs above whole:
1. Wash the herbs as above.
2. Dry in a salad spinner or between sheets of kitchen paper and blot them dry carefully
3. You can also lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and open freeze for 12 hours
4. Store whole in freezer bags with as much air removed as posible
5. Defrost as needed
Note : Herbs, like basil and oregano, can be quickly and easily crushed when frozen. The critical point is to take them out of the freezer just seconds before use, put your hand in the bag and quickly crinkle them. No cutting required. The trick is in the timing as you cannot lallow them thaw out even slightly as the crushing won’t work.
Harder more woody herbs such as rosemary and thyme are generally added for longer cooking times. Here is an effective method for freezing these herbs on the stalks:
1. Wash the herb branches in cold wáter
2. Spin dry or blot dry as above
3. Put the stems into a ziploc bag and put it in the freezer
4. After a week or so take ziploc bag out of the freezer and use a rolling pin to roll over the bag containing the herbs. MOst leaves will just fall off the stems. Pick any remaining ones off by hand.
5. To keep moisture off the leaves you can store in canning jars which have a lid that seals well and place back in the freezer
Simply use in tasty soups and stews all winter long. Use the frozen leaves in any recipe calling for fresh rosemary or thyme. For recipes created using dried thyme or rosemary, use about twice as much of the frozen herbs as you would the dried version.