Freezing Fresh Herbs ~ preserve fresh herbs by freezing them in olive oil in ice cube trays for fresh herb flavor all year in soups, stews, roasts and gravies.
I know I shouldn’t be fast-forwarding when there’s still summer left, but sometimes I can’t help myself. I’m already thinking about pumpkin creamer, jeans and warm sweaters, cute leather boots, trips to the cider mill and big pots of spicy chili.
Once summer passes the herbs in my garden will, too but instead of mourning their loss, I’m taking action and Freezing Fresh Herbs from my garden today so I can enjoy the fresh taste of summer all winter long in some of my favorite soups, stews, roasts and especially Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes.
I love the flavor fresh herbs add to any dish so I don’t mind buying them. What I don’t like is not being able to use all the herbs before they go bad. You know what I mean ~ dark green, mushy, smelly. For a while I stopped buying them because I didn’t want to waste them but I missed them in my food!
I’ve tried growing herbs indoors but they just don’t do well. Of course there are always dried herbs ~ I use them too ~ so don’t think I’m dry-herb bashing, but in my sorta humble opinion, fresh is best.
Freezing Fresh Herbs in olive oil is a great kitchen hack that takes almost no work or time at all, infuses tons of fresh flavor in many dishes and because most recipes start with olive oil anyway, it’s the ideal liquid to freeze the herbs in.
First, you’ll need ice cube trays and if you don’t already have them, the Dollar Store is a great place to buy a few.
Of course, you’ll also need your favorite herbs. I don’t know the science behind it, but delicate herbs like basil, mint and dill don’t stand up to freezing and are best used fresh in dishes like Pesto Pasta, Mojitos and Cucumber Dill Salmon.
Though this advice is probably a little in coming, you don’t have to wait until the end of summer to preserve herbs. Anytime your garden is, well. . .bursting at the seams, freeze away.
I grow sage every summer ~ TONS of it ~ but I rarely use it in the summer because I usually add it to winter meals that involve gravy and stuffing and ⇑ Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes.
Instructions for Freezing Fresh Herbs:
Gather the herbs you’ll be using then wash and dry completely them. It’s important the herbs are completely dry so you don’t get ice crystals.
Give any larger leaves a rough chop so they fit in the trays. Fill each well of the ice cube tray about ⅔ of the way up with herbs then top with good quality olive oil.
Cover the trays with plastic wrap and freeze several hours up to overnight.
Carefully remove the herb cubes from the trays and transfer them to a zip lock bag or other airtight container. Label the container with the type of herb and store 9-12 months in the freezer.
- Use fresh herbs.
- Chop larger herbs to fit in the wells.
- Combine herbs that pair well together like rosemary, sage and thyme (shown here).
I hope you’ll freeze your herbs. You won’t regret it. It’s so easy ~ and fast ~ it’s hardly a recipe at all, but you’ll still see a little ‘recipe’ at the bottom.
Just one more reason I love my readers. You make me think and want to do better! Because of recent question from a reader, here’s a little more information about these frozen herbs.
Each standard size ice cube tray ‘well’ holds about 1 tablespoon of chopped herbs (plus the olive oil). This is an approximation as ice cube tray sizes may vary slightly but this gives you an idea when you use the frozen herbs this winter.
Also, you don’t have to thaw them ~ you can add them frozen right into your sauces, soups, stews, etc.
Enjoy what’s left of summer and your preserved herbs all winter!
If you tried this recipe or any other on the blog, don’t forget to leave a comment or star rating ~ I love hearing from you!
Freezing Fresh Herbs
- ice cube trays
- fresh herbs
- olive oil
- Wash and thoroughly dry the herbs. It's very important the herbs are completely dry.
- Strip the leaves from the stalks.
- Rough chop the herbs so they fit in the trays, filling each well of the ice cube tray about ⅔ of the way up with herbs.
- Top with good quality olive oil.
- Cover the trays with plastic wrap and freeze several hours up to overnight.
- Carefully remove the herb cubes from the trays and transfer them to a zip lock bag or other airtight container. Label the container with the type of herb and store 9-12 months in the freezer.