How to freeze herbs

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One of my goals in my garden is to make salsa entirely from ingredients from my own garden.  In the past I have come close only requiring the purchase of a couple jalapeño peppers from the grocery store but this year with much effort and a strangely hot summer for the Pacific Northwest I have all the ingredients growing in my garden.  Though unfortunately the ingredient cilantro could be my elusive ingredient since hot weather means great growth then subsequent bolting.  My solution to this problem is successive planting and freezing herbs.

Now drying is also a viable option though I prefer freezing since many moist herbs can lead to mildew without the right equipment to dry efficiently.  Frozen herbs also maintain the same potency for several months in the freezer as fresh so no guessing on measurements of your frozen herbs.

There are actually a few different methods for freezing herbs, each of which depends on how you plan on using them later.

The first method is great for keeping the herbs texture and flavor intact.  The process is nearly identical to that of freezing berries.

Flash freezing herbs

  1. Pick the best freshest herbs you can find
  2. Wash and pat herbs dry
  3. Lay on layer of wax/parchment paper on cookie sheet
  4. Freeze overnight
  5. Place leaves in freezer bag(s), using a straw to suck out excess air

If you are planning on using your herbs in soups or stews, I would definitely recommend the ice cube method.

Ice cube tray method

  1. Pick the best freshest herbs you can find
  2. Wash and pat herbs dry
  3. Hand chop (or use food processor) leaves
  4. Put chopped pieces into ice cube trays and fill with water of stock
  5. Freeze overnight
  6. Place cubes in freezer bag(s), using a straw to suck out excess air.  You may also put the trays right into the freezer bag sucking out the air if you wish.

Note: Also try mint with a little extra water to add to drinks during the summer (or winter)

Now if you are planning on using your herbs for dishes that require oil such as Pesto with your Basil.  This is a great time to do a little up front preparation.

Ice cube tray method (with oil)

  1. Pick the best freshest herbs you can find
  2. Wash and pat herbs dry
  3. Add 1/3 cup of oil for each 2 cubs of herbs to food processor or blender
  4. Put chopped pieces into ice cube trays
  5. Freeze overnight
  6. Place cubes in freezer bag(s), using a straw to suck out excess air.  You may also put the trays right into the freezer bag sucking out the air if you wish.

Now in a few months you can add some parmesan and have some previously frozen pesto in the middle of winter.

12 Responses to “How to freeze herbs”

  1. petersonclan Says:

    Would this work to add cilantro to salsa in the winter?Is there a good canning recipe for salsa which uses cilantro?


  2. Lou Altamura Says:

    I am drowning in parsley this season and have been using the ice cube method. It works great. I like the straw idea to suck the air out. Much cheaper than a vacuum sealer.


  3. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    petersonclan, this actually works great for salsa. Freezing can soften the herbs some, but for salsa this is probably preferred. As for canning salsa this is something I have wanted to try but we seem to eat the salsa too fast to can it. Though here is a canning salsa recipe I have been meaning to try out.Lou, cheaper and one less kitchen appliance to store.


  4. Robj98168 Says:

    A quick Hint- if you dont have a food processor or the one you have is too big to chop the herbs try using your coffee grinder. For all intense purposes it is a small food processor


  5. I Wilkerson Says:

    Here is a link to a canned salsa I have made a number of times. Our kids (my biggest critics) say they like it better than any commercial salsa they’ve tried.

    http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_salsa/tomato_salsa_paste_tomatoes.html

    This year I will be freezing cilantro too for the first time, so thanks for the tips!


  6. Char Says:

    Hey!
    I picked, cleaned and dried basil and mint and placed them in tupperwares in the fridge yesterday. Today when I opened them they seemed to have a strange smell – a bit rotten – and the leaves are greying (both plants). i wonder if this method is correct?
    Thanks!


  7. joan Says:

    Thanks so much. I have an over abundance of Basil and Cilantro. I will be nice not waste them.


  8. The Gardener's Rake » Important Tips on Using Herbs from Your Home Herb Garden Says:

    […] Freezing herbs is a fairy simple way to preserve herbs. Cut the herbs into inch pieces and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Once the herbs are frozen, you can place them together in a bag and store them in the freezer until use. […]


  9. Can I Freeze This? - Says:

    […] different ways to freeze herbs. Click on the link to see the different options on freezing herbs. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener, freezing herbs. I prefer to dehydrate mine and keep in the pantry. Plan Ahead Meals If you are going to make one […]


  10. Rookie » How to Feel Like a Natural Woman Says:

    […] and it’s fun! You can freeze the leaves or dry them, and there are 101 internet tutorials like this one, so you’ll always have plenty of resources available to guide you. Clockwise from top left: […]


  11. Freezer Friendly Foods Says:

    […] different ways to freeze herbs. Click on the link to see the different options on freezing herbs. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener, freezing herbs. I prefer to dehydrate mine and keep in the pantry. Plan Ahead Meals If you are going to make one […]


  12. Sabrina Says:

    Consult the local store for any empty newpapers.


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