Today I’m going to explain how to freeze herbs. Freezing fresh herbs is an excellent way to preserve their flavor. First, I’m going to list the herbs that freeze best.
Second, I’ll walk you through the different techniques you can use to freeze herbs.
And third, I’ll leave you with some absolutely scrumptious recipes that you can try out, using your frozen bounty!
Let’s jump straight in!
Why Do We Freeze Herbs?
For those of us who grow a large variety of herbs, the same dilemma always occurs, when it comes time to harvest. We end up with far too much fresh produce! And unless you sell herbs, or make your own herbal teas and decoctions, or tinctures, you know there is going to be waste.
In order to use up all our lovely fresh herbs, it’s common practice to preserve as much as we can. In a previous article, I spoke about drying herbs, to store and preserve. You can read the entire article here.
Besides the storage factor, freezing herbs is an effective way to trap the essential oils inside the plant before they disappear. The more you handle the freshly harvested herbs, the easier it is for them to get bruised and damaged. This will seriously diminish their fragrance and appearance.
Freezing is an excellent way to preserve the aroma of your fresh herbs. When the time comes to use them the best way is to either cook from frozen or, in the case of teas, pour hot water over the frozen herbs and allow to steep. Then do a reheat but don’t boil. When cooking, they thaw fast and release their aroma into the food, adding depth and flavor to soups, casseroles, sauces, and teas.
Best Herbs To Freeze
When freezing herbs, choose fresh material with a high water content. Often these types of herbs don’t dry well unless the air is dry and the hanging area is well-ventilated. But often a lot of the flavor gets lost drying high water content herbs. That’s not to say you must not try! But if you have space to freeze sometimes it’s a better option.
You can also freeze herbs with a lower water content, like thyme and rosemary. But they dry so well, it is often the preferred method.
Frozen herbs can be kept for up to 3-6 months in the freezer whereas dried herbs can be stored for longer (up to a year). I would not keep anything frozen for longer than 3 months.
List Of Herbs You Can Freeze
- Lemon Balm
- Lemon Verbena
- Lemon Grass
- Winter and Summer Savory
- Sweet Woodruff
Different Ways To Freeze Herbs
You can get quite creative when it comes to freezing herbs. You can freeze the individual leaves or section them into bunches. You can also make herb ice cubes and store them in trays.
There are variations on all these methods and I’m going to describe each one of them, step-by-step. You can also buy frozen herbs at selected outlets. This is a convenient way to get, and use, herbs that you don’t have growing, or can’t get fresh on a regular basis.
Buy Frozen Herbs For Convenience
Method 1: Freeze Herbs Into Ice-Blocks
Pick your herbs and prepare them by sorting them into individual leaves, trimming stems (if necessary), or chopping finely. For this first method you will need:
- Freshly picked and prepared herbs
- An ice tray
- Freezer compartment
1. Pick your fresh herbs and prepare them for freezing.
Assortment of herbs for freezing
2. Fill an ice tray with fresh herbs. You can fill an entire tray with the same herb or do as I have in the image below.
Place fresh herbs in an ice-tray
3. Add water, place in the freezer until frozen. Use as needed.
Freeze Herbs -Use as needed
Method 2: Freezing Individual Leaves
For this method, you will need:
- A silicone baking sheet and your herbs.
1. Place the individual leaves flat on the baking sheet.
2. Place in the freezer and freeze.
3. When frozen, remove each leaf, or stem (in the case of rosemary or thyme), and place in a ziplock bag.
4. Leave in the freezer until needed.
Method 3: Making “Stock” Cubes
For this method, you need to blitz your herbs in a blender. You can use one herb or a variety of herbs. Once you have blitzed them, fill up each cubicle in the ice tray, and freeze. Once frozen, you can use it as needed. This method is ideal for use in soups, stews, and casseroles.
You will need:
- Fresh herbs
- A blender, or chop them finely yourself.
- An ice-tray
1. Pick your fresh herbs
2. Chop finely or blitz with a hand blender
3. Fill up each cubicle in the ice tray and freeze until needed.
How To Use Frozen Herbs
So you have frozen your herbs, now what?
Using frozen herbs is just as easy as using them fresh. Here are 2 awesome (and easy) recipes for you to use your frozen herbs in.
Recipes Using Frozen Herbs
Recipe: Using Frozen Herbs in Ratatouille
- 15ml olive oil
- 225 g (8oz) onions, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 225 g (8oz) courgettes (marrows), sliced
- 225 g (8oz) butternut, peeled and diced
- 225 g mushrooms, sliced
- 225 g brinjals, cubed
- 450 g (1lb) fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 1 x frozen basil cube
- 1 x frozen parsley cube
- 1 x frozen blended mixed herb cube (stock cube)
- salt and pepper to taste
Individual frozen parsley cube
- Heat the oil, sweat the onion and garlic till soft.
- Add all remaiing ingredients, place lid on pot and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Serve with your choice of either rice, millet, pasta or potatoes.
Recipe: Using Frozen Herbs In Stuffed Peppers
- 4 Whole peppers, deseeded
- 100g (4oz) sliced mushrooms
- 175g (6oz) cooked bulgar wheat or cooked brown rice
- 2 x frozen parsley cubes
- 2 x frozen blended herb ice blocks (basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary)
- 50g (2oz) frozen peas
- 100g (4oz) mixed nuts, coarsley chopped
- 2 tbs olive oil or 2 tbs butter
- 25g (1oz) wholemeal flour
- 8fl oz (240 ml) milk
- 2fl oz (60ml) yoghurt
- 2oz (50 g) mozzarella cheese, sliced
Set peppers aside. In one pan cook mushrooms, stir in all ingredients up to and including nuts.
In a separate pan melt butter, add flour, stir. Add milk gradually, stir till sauce thickens. Then add yoghurt, don’t let mixture boil.
Arrange peppers on baking tray and bake at 180 degrees celcius, until tender (4 minutes). remove.
Add mixture to each pepper, place back under grill and cook for further20 minutes.
Remove and serve with green salad.
What Do I Need To Freeze Herbs?
Everything you need to freeze herbs can be purchased at your local supermarket. If you shop online you can find the following items all in one place. Click on the links below to get directed to the product you want to purchase.
Silicone Baking Sheets – perfect for freezing individual leaves before packing into freezer bags for later use.
Ziplock Freezer Bags – great for storing your individual leaves
Ice trays – perfect to freeze herbs individually or as blocks of blended herbs.
As you can see, using frozen herbs is easy, convenient and time-saving. o matter what method you use, you will end up with fresh frozen herbs that will add color, flavor, and depth to any dish you choose to make. You can even add frozen herbs to smoothies and desserts. Just make sure your blender is designed to crush ice if using cubes. Alternatively you can use the individually frozen leaves or bunches.
If you freeze your herbs, drop us a line in the comment section and share your favorite recipe, using frozen herbs.