Fresh herbs from the garden are so aromatic and delicious. However, the time frame when fresh herbs like parsley, basil, cilantro, and dill are at its best is short. To preserve the freshness for longer, herbs can be frozen. Here is how to freeze herbs.
What herbs to freeze
All herbs can be frozen, however, some are better dry then frozen. As a rule of thumb any herb that you enjoy fresh and green from the garden, can be frozen fresh and green.
Here at Northern Homestead, we freeze dill, parsley, chives, and cilantro/coriander. Basil can also be frozen just the same, but it is so easy to grow indoors.
Blanching or chopping herbs
Blanching is a process where you put vegetables, greens or herbs for a short time in boiling water or steam.
The reason to blanch fresh produce is to stop enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, colour, and texture.
Enzyme activity can also be stopped (at least partially) by chopping the produce before freezing. This works especially good for greens and also herbs.
Freezing herbs raw
As we have seen herbs need to be either blanched or chopped before freezing. Chopping herbs allows us to freeze them raw.
After harvesting fresh herbs, give them a good rinse and chop them small as you would for salads and soups.
Now put them into a freezer bag, close the bag and get as much air out as you can. This works great by just rolling the half-closed bag and then close it while it is still rolled up.
Label and freeze the fresh herbs.
Raw frozen herbs can be used just as fresh herbs, however, they will have a bit of a different texture as fresh herbs do.
If you still think that blanching is better, or if you do not want finely chopped herbs, there is a simple way to freeze blanched herbs.
For this, we use a simple ice cube tray. Fill the washed fresh herbs into the tray, cover with boiling water and freeze immediately.
The herb ice cubes are great for use in soups, sources and for fermenting pickles. If used in salad dressings, only adjust the liquid used.
As you see, how to freeze herbs is really simple. Freeze them fresh from the garden, or if you buy too many to use at once. Early summer is a great time to stock up on fresh herbs for year-round use. You will pay premium prices for the same herbs in the winter.
What is your favourite herb to preserve?