Freezing herbs is a great way to save your harvest all year long. In this post, I’m going to talk about what herbs can be frozen, and then I’ll show you exactly how to freeze fresh herbs step-by-step.
Herbs are easy to grow, and many times you can be overwhelmed trying to figure out what to do with your harvests. One of the best ways to preserve garden herbs, and retain their flavor, is to freeze them.
Freezing herbs from your garden is easy, and doesn’t take much time. Plus it will be a huge money saver through the long winter months, since you won’t have to buy expensive herbs from the grocery store.
What Herbs Can You Freeze?
Some of the most common herbs to freeze are basil, sage, rosemary, chives, parsley, mint, and cilantro. But really, you can use any type that you want or that you have growing in your garden.
No matter what type you have, the process for freezing herbs is the same. Only the main ingredient changes.
How To Wash Herbs Before Freezing
Washing herbs before freezing is optional. If they’re clean, then there’s no need to wash them. But, if they need a good rinse, then here’s how…
Step 1: Rinse your freshly harvested herbs under the faucet, use a colander, or wash them in a bowl. If you want to use a bowl, place the stems and leaves into the bowl, and fill it with cold water. Then gently swish them around, and dump out the water. Repeat until the water is clean.
Step 2: Once they’re clean, gently pat them with a towel, or spin them dry using a salad spinner. You don’t need to spend too much time on this step, it’s ok if the herbs are damp.
How To Freeze Fresh Herbs For Later Use
Freezing herbs doesn’t take much time, especially if you plan ahead. I like to do mine in large batches to save time in the future.
There are a few methods you could use, but below are the two easiest and most effective. I like both methods equally, but you should experiment to see which one works best for you.
Freezing Herbs In Ice Cube Trays
It’s super easy to freeze herbs in ice trays, and it makes cooking with them later a cinch. For example, if you measure out one tablespoon into each space, you’ll know exactly how much is in each cube. Then you can just pop out however many cubes you need for your recipes.
- Ice tray (or the smaller size), or an herb freezer tray
- Olive oil or water
- Cutting board
- Plastic wrap
- Storage container
Step 1: Find an ice cube tray: You can use any type of ice cube tray you have. But, you may want to find one that makes smaller cubes so you can easily portion them for your favorite recipes.
Step 2: Prepare the herbs: For this method, you only need to wash and chop them. Drying is optional here, since you are putting them into ice trays. Then chop them up as you usually would for cooking.
Step 3: Add the herbs to the trays: Pack the chopped herbs into the cubes. I recommend doing one tablespoon per cube space, but you can measure it out however you’d like for your specific needs.
Step 4: Add water or olive oil: Once you have the herbs in the tray, fill each cube the rest of the way with oil or water. It’s your choice on which one you would rather use. I like olive oil since I typically use the two together in my cooking anyway.
Step 5: Freeze the trays: Cover the tray with a little plastic wrap, and place it in a level spot in your ice box. Leave them there in until they’re completely frozen. It takes about 20 minutes for mine, but the time may vary depending on how cold your freezer is.
Step 6: Store your frozen herbs: Once the cubes are frozen, pop them out of the tray and store them in a freezer-safe container. The oil will start melting right away, so be sure to work fast if you used that.
Flash-freezing is another great method that you can use for whole sprigs or individual leaves, and it will keep them from sticking together in the storage container. That way you won’t end up with one big block of frozen herbs.
- Cookie sheet or baking pan
- Storage container
Step 1: Grab a cookie sheet: You can use a standard cookie sheet, or any type of baking pan you have in your house.
Step 2: Prepare your herbs: Wash and dry them following the instructions above. Once they’re dry, you can either leave them as whole sprigs, pluck off the leaves, or chop them up. I find it easiest to freeze whole leaves.
Step 3: Flash-freeze them: Spread your herbs out so they aren’t touching each other. Then place them in your ice box for about five minutes.
Step 4: Place them in a storage container: Once they’re ready, put them into a freezer-safe container like a freezer bag or a plastic dish.
How To Store Fresh Herbs In The Freezer
To store frozen herbs, all you need is a freezer-safe container. If you use a storage baggie or a small container, they don’t take up much space at all.
Just remember to label the container with the date and the name of the herb so you don’t have to play any guessing games later. Ideally the cubes or leaves won’t stick together during storage. But even if they do, they’re easy to break apart.
How Long Do Frozen Herbs Last?
Frozen herbs will last for about 12 months, but you can keep them longer if they don’t get freezer burn. If you time it right, they will last until you’re ready to harvest more next year.
Freezing herbs is so easy, and I love that none of my harvest goes to waste. It’s great to always have garden herbs on hand, and it saves tons of money during the colder seasons. Plus, it makes cooking with them a snap!
More Food Preservation Posts
- How To Dry Lavender From Your Garden
- Storing Peppers For Winter Use
- How To Freeze Chives From Your Garden
How do you freeze herbs? Share your favorite method in the comments below.