The main and traditional method of storing summer herbs for winter use is drying.With some soft leaved herbs, that are best used fresh, freezing is a way to get that fresh herb flavour into a dish at any time of year.
Pick Your Freezing Herbs at Their Best
Always pick your herbs for both drying and freezing at their best. Waiting until they are past their best just means you’re spending effort on an inferior product. Pick your herbs just before they come into flower as after flowering the leaves start to toughen up.
Even the type of day and time of day you pick can make a difference. Ideally you want to pick on a sunny day, preferably early in the morning when the volatile flavour oils are at their strongest as the sun hasn’t evaporated them off.
Freezing Woody Herbs
Freezing Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Marjoram, Sage etc
Wash the herb as you would prior to using fresh and then chop into fairly small pieces. Put a portion, the amount you would use in a dish, into a section of an ice cube tray. Top up the tray with water and freeze.
These are the simplest herbs to freeze and will store well for at least a year.
Freezing Soft Herbs
With soft herbs like basil where they are pretty much dissolved in the final dish, wash and strip the leaves from stalks where appropriate. Put the leaves into a blender and add about a quarter by volume of water. Whiz into a paste before transferring into an ice cube tray to freeze. To use, just drop an ‘ice cube’ or two into the dish as you cook.
Herbs frozen like this will store well for at least a year.
Quick Bag Method
This isn’t the best method for long term freezing but could hardly be easier. We’ve used it for parsley. The flavour was retained but the texture wasn’t so only useful when adding into a soup or stew. No good for using the herb as a garnish
Just put the herb into a plastic bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible and seal prior placing in the freezer. Should store for at least a couple of months.
More Information on Freezing Produce
- Freezers and Freezing Food
- Freezers – Chest or Upright Freezer?
- How to Freeze Food – General Information, Blanching etc.
- Freezing Vegetables – Preparation & Blanching Times Part 1
- Freezing Vegetables – Preparation & Blanching Times Part 2
- Freezing Herbs – How to Freeze Herbs
- Freezing Fruit – How to Freeze Fruits
- Freezer Running Costs – How Much do Freezers Cost to Run
- Freezer Running Costs – Test Results How Much our Freezers Cost
- Running Costs for Freezers Conclusions