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Do you know that you can preserve your favourite herbs even when they are out of season by freezing them? How so? Well, this article will discuss the best ways to freeze fresh herbs.
Freezing herbs is a great way to store them because it preserves the fresh herb flavour that is sometimes lost when other herbs preserving methods are used.
Unfortunately, at the end of summer, many of our fresh but frost-tender seasonings become dormant.
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But those great flavours don’t have to leave our plates till next year. You may still enjoy the rich flavour of fresh herbs from the garden – straight from the freezer!
The Advantages Of Freezing
- Freezing herbs is simple, inexpensive, and retains a high level of aroma and flavour.
- Most of the oils are ejected and evaporate as plant cells and fibres dry out. However, freezing maintains the essential oils that give these kitchen favourites their deep tastes, powerful perfumes, and remarkable nutritional value.
Herbs do not look as pretty when frozen as they do when fresh – the leaves darken and can become limp when thawed. As a result, you shouldn’t use them as a garnish or in a fresh salad.
However, because of their vibrant perfume and flavour, they make a delectable addition to baked goods, pasta, rice, sauces, smoothies, soups, stews, and other dishes.
5 Easy Methods To Freeze Herbs
Whatever method you prefer frozen leaves can be used in your cooking for up to a year
After freezing in cubes, pans, or trays, transfer the individual pieces to airtight containers for storing.
We have discussed 5 ways in which we can store fresh herbs below.
1. The bare Leaf
Freezing bare leaves is a simple way to store large-leaved herbs like basil, bay leaves, and parsley.
After washing and drying, separate the leaves from the stems and arrange them on a baking sheet in a single layer.
This method is useful for keeping leaves separate so that you can remove them individually as needed.
You can also just place bunches of individual leaves in a resealable bag, press out all of the air, and freeze.
2. In Water
Freezing chopped herbs in water in ice cube trays is an excellent way to preserve sensitive leaves such as basil, chives, cilantro, mint, and parsley.
Wash them thoroughly before chopping or mincing your tender leaf selection. You can use a single herb or a combination to create a blend of your favourite flavour combinations.
For example, basil, parsley, and oregano are versatile blends that can be used in any Mediterranean dish.
Alternatively, a mint and tarragon combination is wonderful in chilly delicacies like handmade ice cream!
If you don’t have an ice cube tray, arrange the minced herbs in a shallow pan to form a “sheet” about one-quarter to one-half inch deep. Press down gently.
Pour in enough water to just cover the mixture.
Place the cubes in the freezer until solid, then remove them from the tray and place them in long-term storage bags or containers.
3. In oil And Butter
Oil is an excellent medium for preserving a wide variety of baking and cooking herbs, such as sage, thyme, and rosemary. It’s also a good way to keep individual herbs or a blend of your favourites.
Whereas herbs stored in water may eventually develop ice crystals (as well as off-flavours if your freezer cycles between deep freeze and warmer temperatures), the oil helps to seal in and retain those essential oils while reducing the risk of freezer burn.
Fill ice cube trays halfway with them and press down lightly with your fingertips.
In a shallow pan, layer into quarter- to half-inch thick sheets, levelling with a spatula.
Use just enough high-quality vegetable oil, such as olive oil, to barely cover the chopped herbs.
Alternatively, if you are chopping your herbs in a food processor, add one to two tablespoons of olive oil to make a light paste.
Before freezing, cut the paste into cubes or spread it in pans and drizzle with a small amount of oil over the top – just enough to keep the mixture together.
You’ll need softened unsalted butter and your favourite herbs to make the butter.
You can use four tablespoons of your favourite herbs for every eight tablespoons of butter.
You can produce compound butter and freeze it in sections in an ice cube tray or another handy container.
4. On The stem
Some herbs, such as dill, rosemary, tarragon, and thyme, have small or very fine leaves that are easiest to handle when left on the stem.
Cut clean, dry stems to about six inches long and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Light, lacy leaves, such as tarragon, can be allowed to overlap a little.
Place in the freezer for a few hours before transferring to airtight storage bags or containers. Label the contents as well as the date.
Individual sprigs should be removed as needed, and leaves should be separated from stems before using.
5. Logs Rolled
Soft, flat-leaf species like basil, Italian parsley, or sage can be crushed and wrapped into a log for more efficient bulk storage.
Remove the clean, dry leaves from the stems and place them in a sealable bag.
Squeeze and compress the leaves into a bundle along the bag’s bottom. Roll the bag around the packed leaves, squeezing out air as you go.
Can You Freeze Herbs To Keep Them Fresh?
Herbs can be frozen quickly and easily, and they maintain most of their flavour, aroma, and minerals.
Although they aren’t usually attractive and may not hold up to scrutiny when used in salads or as a garnish, frozen herbs can preserve much of the flavour of healthy herbs to be used long after the planting season has passed.
Is It Better To Dry Or Freeze Fresh Herbs?
Although drying is a great way to preserve your herbs, it can cause the herbs to lose some of their nutrients and qualities.
Freezing is the finest way to preserve the essential oils and lively flavours of delicate herbs like dill, fennel, thyme, basil, and chives.
Should Herbs Be Washed Before Freezing?
Cleaning the herbs is one of the first steps before freezing them. Cleaning the leaves without water is possible, but if there is residual dirt, it may be difficult to remove without water.
How Long Will Fresh Herbs Last In The Fridge?
Fresh herbs can wilt and brown in a matter of days if they are exposed to too much moisture and oxygen, especially if they are stored in a grocery bag in the crisper drawer.
Fresh herbs can be kept in the refrigerator for two to three weeks and in the freezer for months if properly handled. Dried herbs, on the other hand, can be kept in the pantry for years.
In conclusion, we have seen how we can preserve our fresh herbs and how some can be used even after months.
Have you tried freezing herbs before and what was the outcome? Please share with us in the comments!