Friday, October 15, 2010

Freezing herbs

Yesterday I realized I hadn't preserved any of my fresh herbs. I have used them through the summer, but I knew I was quickly running out of time if I wanted to have any fresh herbs after frost. Everything but the rosemary dies way back after this.

I decided to freeze the herbs rather than dry them. I was a little short on time and I kind of like the way they taste when I use them while they are green. I also think it adds a few more vitamins. You usually have to use larger amounts of the fresh or frozen ones.

My favorite herb is basil and I really love it. I have even purchased fresh plants in the grocery store when it wasn't in season. Basil won't come back year after year like many of the other herbs so it is very important to store in between seasons.

Oregano. This is one that will come back year after year and it is really good fresh. It freezes well, too.

I don't use too much sage, but this will be used for my Thanksgiving dinner.

Thyme is something that comes back year after year, too. I don't really use too much of it but I think it is lovely and fragrant in the garden. I occasionally use the rosemary, in the bag behind the thyme, but rosemary is kind of strong and I have to watch how much I use, especially for my husband.

One thing I am going to try freezing is stevia. I will then use it in tea and smoothies. I have a big bag of it so I am hoping this will be a good way to preserve it.

Now I just need to label each bag and I will put all the the bags in a larger bag or container and freeze it until I need it. I have heard some people like to freeze herbs in ice cube trays of water and use them in soups and stews. That would be good for that purpose but I often use mine in stir fries and sauces so I am not sure I would like that method as well.


  1. I have frozen herbs in the past, and it works wonderfully. If I know it won't take too long to use them, then I put them in small containers and easily pull out just what I need.

  2. What a great idea! Fresh herbs add so much to a recipe. Thanks for sharing and hope you have a wonderful weekend, Joanie

  3. I'm curious on your success in freezing basil. I found that it does not tolerate cold. I planted it regularly in my garden, but one year missed the weather forecast and did not harvest before the first frost. I found after a frost it is generally good only for the garbage. I wonder if there is a difference between putting it in the freezer versus having it subjected to a frost. Anyway, since then, I plant all my herbs in pots and bring them in before it frosts. They live all winter, including the basil which reseeds itself and grows new plants throughout the winter. Now, I always have fresh herbs and seldom have to buy any. Some thyme varieties, however, dry on the stems indoors during the winter, but the plant is still alive and some varieties will resprout on those stems when spring arrives - if the stems crack off, they won't resprout, but if they are flexible they will. I just take however much dried thyme I need during the winter off the plant and wait till spring to see which ones need to have the dead stems cut out. The plants will regrow either way. The same is true of oregano. By bringing them inside, I save a boatload of money by not having to buy new plants each year. Parsley, cutting celery, tarragon, oregano, basil, thyme, chamomile, sage all will live through the winters indoors.

    As for thyme and rosemary, those are two of my favorite herbs. Rosemary can be used when roasting potatoes or sweet potatoes - just place a few sprigs under potatoes that have been cut into small pieces (1"x1") when you roast them - superb. You can do the same when roasting chicken breasts. Rosemary is also very good with pork - crust a pork loin with rosemary leaves, it adds a wonderful flavor and you can scrape the leaves off if you don't want to eat them.

    Thyme is wonderful with steamed carrots (just put a few sprigs in the water when you steam the carrots). Actually you can do many vegetables steamed with herbs - tarragon in the water when steaming green beans is good. Thyme is also a good addition to soups and stews. I always use it when I make a roast in the crockpot or when making chicken stock.