Thursday, 8 September 2011

Preserving Herbs: Freeze 'Em!

Though we don't want to admit it, summer is coming to a close, and those of us with outdoor gardens need to decide what to do with the rest of the herbs that are growing out there.

Herb Garden

The traditional method is to dry them, and this does work quite well; however there are two downsides to drying:

1. The herbs tend to lose a lot of their flavour in the process.
2. Herbs with a high water content will often mold before they are fully dried.

Another option that doesn't take a lot of time, is freezing your herbs! 

Most sites will recommend that you freeze your leaves whole, either actually 'in' ice or by laying them on a cookie sheet, freezing them, and then placing them in containers once they are separately frozen.

Inspired by eldest daughter :-)

Personally I would go about it a little differently.

First you would want to pick your lovely amazing herbs! Don't limit yourself to things like basil and oregano - you can do this to lemon-balm, chives, mint... you name it!

  • Make sure that your leaves are nicely cleaned. I couldn't bear the thought of a bug sneaking through! 
  • Chop/Mince and generally reduce them to the size that you prefer when cooking. (If you have a lot, you could try blending them - though this will mean that once you use them they will be near invisible!) 
  • Once they are the size you want them, pack them tightly into mini ice-cube trays. I'm talking about the ones that create ice-cubes that are about 1cm squared. If you have blended them, just pour the pulp right in. You can of course make them in larger ice cube trays, however you will likely find that they are too much for one dish.
  • To guarantee that they stay in cube-form you can fill in the air pockets with water.
  • Freeze them
  • Once they are frozen, pop them out of the trays and toss them in freezer bags/containers that are properly labeled. 

Frozen Parsley Cubes

Now when you're cooking, all you need to do is pull out one, or a few, of these mini cubes and incorporate them into your meal. (They will thaw quite quickly.)

The herbs will no longer won't be pretty and crisp when you go to use them, but the important fact is that they will keep their amazing flavour! (And of course they will all be in handy little portions!)

This is something you can do throughout the year as your plants grow - this way you can preserve your herbs at the precise stage where they are the most flavorful!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have herbs to pick!


If you enjoyed this post, why not Subscribe to Organically Inclined!


  1. I am inspired, heading out to pick basil leaves.....Great post

  2. Just putting my first bag of dried basil in storage. I dried them in my dehydrator. They did not retain a very nice color, but the smell is awesome. I found out afterwards, if I had soaked them in lemon juice for 1 minute before dehydrating, they would of retained their nice color....will try that with the oregano tomorrow.

  3. That's a great way to preserve your herbs for winter!