If you grow herbs, you know that sometimes there is far more you can use in a season, so how do you preserve them? Herbs can be dried, of course, although the flavor is generally a faint version of fresh, but you can also try making ice cubes with herbs.
Freezing herbs in ice cube trays is simple to do and there are two ways to make ice cube herbs. Interested in saving herbs in ice cube trays? Keep reading to learn how to freeze fresh herbs.
About Freezing Herbs
Sturdy herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano freeze beautifully. You can also freeze herbs like cilantro, mint, and basil, but these herbs are most often used fresh or added at the last minute to cooked foods, which means their delicate flavor loses something in the translation when frozen. This doesn’t mean don’t freeze them but be warned that their subtle flavors will be much reduced.
How to Freeze Fresh Herbs
Besides making ice cubes with herbs, you may also opt to freeze your herbs on a cookie sheet. It is as simple as it sounds. Wash the herbs, pat dry gently, remove stem and lay the clean herbs flat on a cookie sheet and freeze. When the herbs are frozen, remove them from the cookie sheet and package in a labeled, sealed plastic bag.
The downside of freezing herbs this way is they are more prone to freezer burn and discoloration. That’s where saving herbs in ice cube trays comes in. There are two ways to freeze herbs in ice cube trays, with water or with oil.
How to Make Ice Cubes with Herbs
Whether you use water or oil, the prep for making ice cube herbs is the same. Wash the herbs, gently blot them dry, and remove the leaves from the stems. Then chop the herbs as you would for a recipe.
Next, decide if you want to try saving herbs in ice cube trays with water or oil. The benefit of using oil is that it seems to be more resistant to freezer burn, but the decision is yours.
Freezing Herbs in Water
If you wish to freeze the herbs using water, fill the ice cube tray half full with water (many people use boiling water to blanch the herbs prior to freezing) and then fill with chopped herbs of your choice, pushing the herbs down into the water. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect.
Freeze the ice cube herbs. When they are frozen, remove the tray from the freezer and top it off with cold water and refreeze. Once the second freeze is done, remove the ice cube herbs from the tray and package in a sealed, labeled freezer bag or container.
Once ready to use, simply drop into the desired dish or plop in a refreshing drink, which can also be further enhanced when fruit is added to the cubes.
Freezing Herbs in Oil
To make herbs in ice cube trays with oil, use chopped herbs as above or larger sprigs and leaves. Fill the ice cube tray about two-thirds full of herbs. You may use a single herb or create favorite combinations.
Pour extra virgin olive oil or melted, unsalted butter over the herbs. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Remove the frozen ice cube herbs and store in a labeled, sealed bag or freezer container until ready to use.
Herbs frozen in oil ice cube trays can be used for many of your favorite recipes. Simply choose the amount needed and let thaw or drop in the cubes while preparing hot dishes.
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Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.
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