How to Freeze Fresh Herbs as Leaves and Ice Cubes

How to Freeze Fresh Herbs as Leaves and Ice Cubes

Freezing fresh herbs as leaves or in ice cubes is a great way to preserve their flavor and aroma for later use. Here’s how you can do it:

Freezing Fresh Herbs as Leaves:

Harvest and Clean: Pick fresh herbs from your garden or store-bought bunch. Wash the herbs gently under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Pat them dry with paper towels.

Prep for Freezing: Remove the leaves from the stems. You can do this by gently sliding your fingers along the stem to strip the leaves. Discard the stems.

Blanch (Optional): Some herbs, like basil, can develop a better texture when blanched before freezing. To blanch, briefly dip the leaves into boiling water for a few seconds, then immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Pat dry with paper towels.

Portion and Freeze: Place the clean, dry leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Avoid overcrowding. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for a few hours or until the leaves are frozen.

Transfer to Bags or Containers: Once the leaves are frozen, transfer them to airtight freezer-safe bags or containers. Label the bags with the herb name and date. Remove as much air as possible from the bags before sealing.

Use as Needed: When you need herbs for cooking, simply remove the desired amount from the freezer and use them directly in your dishes. Frozen herbs are best used in cooked dishes like soups, stews, and sauces.

Freezing Fresh Herbs in Ice Cubes:

Harvest and Clean: Follow the same steps as mentioned above to harvest and clean the fresh herbs.

Chop or Leave Whole: Depending on your preference, you can chop the herbs finely or leave them whole.

Place in Ice Cube Trays: Fill each compartment of an ice cube tray with the chopped or whole herbs. You can fill the compartments about halfway or adjust based on your preference.

Add Water or Oil: Pour water or olive oil over the herbs in each compartment to cover them. This helps preserve the herbs and prevents freezer burn.

Freeze: Place the ice cube tray in the freezer and allow the herb-filled cubes to freeze completely.

Transfer to Bags or Containers: Once frozen, pop the herb cubes out of the tray and transfer them to labeled freezer-safe bags or containers. Again, remember to label with the herb name and date.

Use as Needed: When cooking, simply add the frozen herb cubes directly to your dishes. The cubes will melt and release the herbs as they cook.

Remember that frozen herbs may not retain their original texture after thawing, but they will still infuse your dishes with their flavor. Using frozen herbs is a convenient way to enjoy fresh flavors even when the herbs are out of season.