There are several options for preserving your homegrown herbs. Freezing herbs for later makes them available to use in your cooking long after the summer growing season ends. Here are three simple ways to do it!
Each summer I look forward to starting herb seeds in little trays, transplanting them, and having a beautiful, productive herb garden. I also plant several herbs in small pots to keep inside the kitchen on the windowsills for easy access when I’m cooking.
Some herbs continue to grow well indoors as the weather changes. But due to our short summers here in Alaska, the outdoor growing season isn’t very long. Thankfully, the Midnight Sun helps us out and we are still able to grow a lot of food.
We need to grow as much as we can in a short window. So preserving what we do grow is important to us. Although we love enjoying freshly cut herbs at just about every supper during the summer, I always tuck as many herbs away as I can for use during the winter.
Frozen herbs are great for adding flavor and aroma to stocks, soups, and stews simmering on the stovetop. They can also be mixed into vegetable dishes, breads and biscuits, pasta and pizza sauces, and more.
As much as I love beautiful bundles of drying herbs hanging around my kitchen, I also like to freeze some for different uses. Here are my three favorite ways to freeze fresh herbs that we’ve grown.
Freezing Fresh Herbs in Jars
This is a quick way to freeze herbs to use later. Whenever you’re ready to cook, you can just pull out a jar and grab a pinch of whatever you need. The steps are simple:
Spread herbs in a single layer on a sheet pan or tray.
Place in the freezer and allow to sit for an hour or two or until frozen.
Place frozen herbs in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. I like to remove the stems and just place the leaves into the jars to make them easier to use when I’m ready.
Some herbs, such as lemongrass and chives, should be cut up before freezing. This makes it so easy to grab a pinch to toss into a recipe. I love to add chopped up chives to biscuits when making them to go along with a seafood meal.
Frozen Herb Cubes
Use your fresh herbs to make frozen herb cubes! Perfect for popping into a pot simmering on the stove for added flavor. The steps are simple and it only takes a few minutes to make a batch.
Chop up the herbs well. I like to use kitchen shears to make this job quick. You can use only one type of herb or a mixture, whatever you prefer.
Fill each portion of an ice cube tray with the chopped herbs. Use any combination that you like to cook with!
Use water, olive oil, or your favorite cooking oil to fill the tray and cover the herbs.
Water works just fine as it’s such a small amount it won’t alter the recipe you’re preparing when you put them in. Oliver oil is another great option as it will add even more flavor to your dish when it melts.
Place in the freezer until frozen then pop the cubes out.
Store them in an airtight container in the freezer until ready to use. Don’t forget to label the date and the type of herbs you used! They will last for up to 12 months.
Making mint cubes is a tasty treat! Cut up mint leaves but use water (not oil) to fill the trays. These are great for tossing into a glass of iced tea or lemonade on hot summer days!
Freezing Herbs in Bundles
A convenient way to preserve herbs is bundling them. Consider soups and stews that you like to make during the winter and what herbs you typically use. I like to combine parsley, oregano, thyme, and rosemary.
Take a sprig or two of several different types of herbs and create a small bouquet.
Using one of the herb stems, gently tie the bundle together.
Store in an airtight container or bag in the freezer.
Whenever you have a soup, stew, or some stock simmering on the stove, simply grab an herb bouquet and toss it in to the pot. When you’re done cooking, carefully pull out there stems and discard (compost or feed to the chickens).
Have several bundles frozen and whenever you’re making a hearty soup, sauce, or stew during the winter, you’ll be able to flavor it using your own homegrown herbs.
Best Herbs for Freezing
Grow as many herbs as you can this summer or if you can’t, stock up at your local farmer’s market. Enjoy some fresh but tuck some away in your freezer and you’ll be enjoying delicious herbs in your cooking all winter long!