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Freezing Herbs

Category Herbs
Although not suitable for garnishes, frozen herbs are excellent for cooking. This is a guide about freezing herbs.
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July 7, 20062 found this helpful

Selecting High-Quality Herbs:

The leaves of most herbs will appear limp and discolored after being frozen, and are not suitable for use as garnishes. However, they are still excellent when used in soups, sauces, salad dressings and cooked dishes. Seeds and flowers are best preserved by drying. Harvest leaves at the peak of growth, just before the plants starts to flower. Parsley, chervil and savory should be harvested while leaves are still young and tender. freezing guide
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Preparing for Freezing:

Wash, drain and pat dry with paper towels. Strip leaves from stems, discarding any that show signs of disease or damage. Chop leaves or leave them whole as desired.

Best Freezing Method(s):

  • Dry Pack: Pack prepared leaves into suitable containers. Seal, label and freeze.

  • Herb Butters: Prepare desired herb butter according to recipe directions. Transfer into suitable containers and freeze. Slice off portions as needed.

  • Herb Pastes: Wash and prepare leaves. Chop leaves coarsely. Blend 2 cups of leaves and 1/3 of a cup of olive oil in a food processor to make a paste. Transfer into suitable containers, seal, label and freeze.

  • Ice Cubes: This is a great way to freeze herbs for soaps and stews. Chop prepared leaves and spoon into ice cube trays. Cover with water and freeze. Transfer cubes to plastic bags, label and freeze. Drop into soups and stews as needed.
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Suitable Packaging:

Freezer containers should be moisture and vapor resistant and should not be prone to cracking or breaking at low temperatures. Containers should provide protection against absorbing flavors or odors and should be easy to label. Suitable packaging for freezing includes freezer-grade plastic bags, rigid plastic containers or glass containers and ice cube trays.

Maximum Storage Time:

At 0ºF, leaves will last up to 1 year and butters and pastes will last up to 6 months.

Thawing:

Leaves and pastes can be added directly to dishes without thawing. Thaw herb butter in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

Tips & Shortcuts:

Herbs that make great pastes include chervil, cilantro, dill, fennel, marjoram, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory and tarragon.
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Refrigerating Herbs:

Fresh herbs should be used or processes as quickly as possible after harvesting. Pastes and butters will last up to 3 months in the refrigerator. Warning: Pastes made from garlic and oil should be used immediately and not stored due to danger from Clostridium botulinum.
Comment Was this helpful? 2

By 4 found this helpful
July 21, 2010

I always have so much basil in my garden and it can turn black so fast. Here's what I do to have that garden-fresh basil flavor all year. I put fresh, cleaned basil leaves in the blender with just enough water to blend it to a thickened paste. I then pour the paste into ice-cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, I transfer cubes into zip-lock bags and store in the freezer. One cube equals about a small handful of basil leaves. I keep a couple of extra ice cube trays just for this.

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I do a lot of Indo-Pak cooking so I also make a spice paste that is integral to that cuisine called "green masala" (which is a combination of cilantro, green chiles, mint, and fresh ginger root) using this same method.

Hint: Get odors out of ice-cube trays by soaking in hot water with a bit of dishwashing liquid and a few drops of bleach. Rinse well. No more blackened, wasted basil!

By douet from Clifton, NJ

Comment Was this helpful? 4

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July 21, 20100 found this helpful

To have fresh chopped herbs, basil, marjoram, chives, dill weed, Italian parsley, etc. all winter long: Wash herbs, shake dry, process in food processor with about 1/2 c. water. Freeze in ice-cube trays, filling to top with additional water as necessary. I dump the frozen cubes into a zip-lock type freezer bag, excluding all air, then seal that bag in an additional bag of the same type, in the same manner.

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By Shagribe from Montana


Answers:

Herb Cubes

I've been doing this for a long time. What's really nice about this method is that when the time comes to use them, they are still bright green! (09/13/2006)

By Beth

Herb Cubes

Super idea! I get the fresh herbs at the store and never get to use much of it before it goes bad. So, this would be wonderful and basically pre-measured! Thanks! (09/13/2006)

By mobo

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

July 7, 20060 found this helpful

Some herbs freeze nicely and you can freeze them in their whole form. But others such as Parsley, Tarragon, and Basil don't freeze well. You may want to store the more fragile herbs by dehydrating first, then containing.

I have a dehydrator and use it for my basil and parsley. Once dried, I put these herbs in air tight jars kept handy when I am cooking. It's a super way to save money, and growing your own plants always lets you know how healthy each plant remains.

Use your fresh herbs, or your own dried herbs by adding to any meal you prepare and enjoy much tastier meals.

By kittyhassparkle from Tacoma, WA

Feedback:
Freezing Herbs 11/02/2005
Don't worry if you don't have a dehydrator. I chop up fresh herbs and put them on a plate or dish towel and dry them on the kitchen table. It takes just a few days. I won seven or eight blue ribbons at the fair for my dried herbs, plus a best-of-show ribbon for best dried foods last year. The premium money came in handy. Best of all, the herbs are always growing in my flower beds, so they were free, you might say. Most of them are either perennial or plant themselves year after year.
By Coreen (Guest Post)

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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