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If there are plants I would love to grow all my life, it would be HERBS!
They are the most versatile plants in the world. They are not just a pleasing sight to see either. But most importantly, they can instantly spruce up any dish. So just imagine having a decorative plant and a kitchen staple at the same time.
How lovely would that be, right?
Unfortunately, picking fresh herbs right off the pot may not always be possible. So when you harvest, grab all the opportunity you can get to make them last longer.
Luckily, it is totally feasible to preserve the freshness of your herbs anytime. And yes, freezing is one of the most effective methods to make them available all-year-round.
In this article, I will teach you the different ways to freeze your herbs. This will include guidelines so you won’t have a hard time following through. Moreover, I also included the links to the products you can use for this process.
Without further ado, let’s get things freezing!
- 1 Can You Freeze Fresh Herbs: How & why you should try it
- 2 3 Ways to Freeze Your Fresh Herbs
- 3 Wrapping Up:
Can You Freeze Fresh Herbs: How & why you should try it
Why you should freeze your herbs?
Before anything else, let us get to know first the benefits of freezing herbs:
- Prolongs the shelf life of herbs
Often, the main reason why you freeze your herbs is that you want to extend the shelf life of your herbs. As you may know, degradation starts to occur as soon as you pick the herb off of the stem. So by freezing, you are somehow slowing down the deterioration process of the herb.
- Availability of ingredients
For those who are cooking, you should know that there are countless recipes that call for herbs. Freezing it will ensure this ingredient will be available anytime it is needed in your dish. Just simply take it out of the freezer and you are good to go.
- Reduce food waste
Global food waste is significantly increasing day by day. I, for one, do not want to be a part of it. Thinking of those who are less fortunate to have access to food makes me rethink my consumption too. Hence, instead of letting my fresh produce go to waste, I eagerly find ways to make good use of it instead.
Let’s face it! Fresh herbs wither and go bad in just a few days or so. As a daily consumer, I know it would take up a portion of my budget if I keep on buying herbs off of the shelf. It may just be a few bucks here and there from time to time. But, when you add it all up, it is still be a significant amount. By freezing, you have the option to store your extra fresh herb to make it last longer and save you money in the long run.
Soft Herbs vs Hard Herbs
Herbs, in general, can be simply classified as either a soft or hard type of herb. Before attempting to freeze your herbs, it is important to know which classification they belong to. This will help you determine how to best use, store, and preserve it.
How to prepare herbs before freezing?
As always, the key thing in maintaining the freshness of any produce is by keeping them clean. Thus, before attempting to freeze your herbs, ensure that it been prepped properly.
To do this, you have to rinse your herbs under clean and running water. Others even opt to dip them in the vegetable wash solution for a more thorough cleaning. Either one of these ways will do as long as debris and dirt are effectively removed from the leaves and the stems.
After your herbs are washed, you now have to remove the excess moisture. To do so, you can simply lay your clean herbs on top of sheets of paper towels or kitchen towels. Let it sit for a while until it becomes all dry.
Things you would be needing when freezing herbs
- Paper towels
- Baking sheets
- Zip plastic poly bags
- Mason jars
- Ice cube trays
- Food processor
- Permanent marker
3 Ways to Freeze Your Fresh Herbs
Method #1: Bare Freezing
This is the simplest and most straight-forward method of freezing your fresh herbs. They don’t need much preparation as the stems can be left attached as is. Parsley, for instance, is one herb that can get by freezing together with its thin stems.
Alternatively, you can also choose to strip off the leaves. This works well especially for herbs with much thicker stems like basil and oregano. If you won’t likely be needing the stems later on, then is rather best not to include them to save up on space.
Hard herbs can also be spread across a flat tray or baking sheet in a single layer. This will ensure that herbs will freeze faster and won’t clump together as they harden.
Once already frozen, you can then transfer it to an airtight container. This will provide the herbs more secure storage. Thus, preventing moisture or other elements from contaminating your herbs.
Whenever you’re ready to use it, simply take out the amount you would need for the moment. Return the rest back to the freezer to keep it frozen and intact.
Method #2: Freezing herbs in water
Another easy way to freeze your fresh herbs is by placing them in ice cube trays. This is perfect for prepping your frozen herbs in single-sized portions. Thus, you won’t have a hard time dividing them further by the time you already need them.
I find the silicone type of ice cube tray works best for this method. The material is pliable so it is much easier to remove the frozen herbs later on. Also, they come in various sizes and even fun shapes. So that makes this project a lot more interesting, especially when you are trying to work with your kids.
To do this, you have to prep your fresh herbs as usual. Once dry, chop them up to your preferred proportion. Cut it in sizes you would usually need for your recipes. Moreover, this will also make it easier to fit in the sections of the tray.
Gather your ice cube trays and fill each with chopped herbs. The amount may vary depending on the size of your tray. Pour clean water. Don’t worry if some of the herbs may float. Once frozen, you can fill it again with more water to fully cover the herbs.
Thereafter, you can then remove the herbs from the tray and transfer them to an airtight container for better storage.
Method #3: Freezing in oil
Freezing herbs in oil is my favorite method of all. This makes cooking way more convenient. You already have the herb and the oil combined in one cube. Thus, perfect for anyone who is always on the go and doesn’t have much time to prep things.
This method is also versatile as you can use any type of oil you wish to cook with. I would suggest though to use an oil with a more neutral taste. That way, it will not interfere with the natural flavor of the herbs themselves. For that matter, extra virgin olive oil is most commonly used in this method.
The process is actually very similar to the previous method. Except that, you replace plain water with the oil of your choice. Moreover, you can also use a food processor instead of chopping the herbs. You can adjust the settings from pulse to puree depending on how fine you want your mixture to be. This works really well for preparing large batches or making pesto for pasta sauces and stews.
Why is it important to label your frozen herbs?
Just like any preserves, frozen herbs also need to be labeled accordingly. Here are the two reasons why:
Once the herbs are already chopped up, it is almost impossible to distinguish them. Thus, it is important to label your container before you store them in your freezer. That way, you will know exactly what type of herb you are getting from your freezer later on.
- Shelf Life Monitoring
As we mentioned earlier, frozen herbs can stay fresh in your freezer for up to a year. The quality of the herbs beyond this period tends to already be degraded. Thus, it is highly advisable not to further consume and just discard the leftovers.
For safety, it is important to label the packaging with the date of production and expiration. This will help you keep track of which herbs are still good to use and which among them is due for disposal already.
Looking for garden-fresh herbs? Why not freeze a few! Not only will the herb retain its freshness, but it will also become more accessible to you, especially if you don’t always have fresh herbs growing in the garden. Whichever way you want to freeze your herbs, you can be sure that you will always have them available in your freezer all-year-round. The process of freezing herbs is super easy and fun to do. For this reason, it’s also the perfect activity to do with a child.