Fresh herbs can add a splash of both color and flavor to your recipes. However, they have a notoriously short shelf life, lasting just a few days in the fridge or on the counter in a glass of water.
Freezing herbs allows for conveniently and easily preserving them to up to six months.
After a few years of trial and error, I have devised a simple, and yet very effective, way to freeze herbs.
Herbal ice cubes!
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Here’s what you’ll need
A good knife
Herb stripper – really helpful for processing large amounts of herbs quickly
Cutting board – a flexible cutting board will make it easy to transfer the herbs to a bowl
Herb freezing trays (or repurposed 5-8 oz. yogurt containers)
Step 1: Wash and Dry
Using a salad spinner is a very convenient way to both rinse the herbs and spin them dry. The centrifugal force of the spinner forces any remaining dirt or water off of the herbs.
Step 2: Remove the Leaves
Remove the leaves, separating the stems and setting them aside to use later in making homemade vegetable broth. Take care not to crush the leaves, you will bruise them, releasing their oils prematurely.
Step 3: Measure Herbs
Consider how you will use the herbs. You will want to use a measuring cup to fill the yogurt container with an appropriate amount of the herb. For soups, between 1/4 and 1/3 a cup is perfect, depending on the size of the recipe. Since I cook soup in 10-12 serving batches, I generally freeze herbs in 1/3 cup increments.
Step 4: Fill containers and Cover with Water
I use leftover small yogurt cups to freeze the herbs. I keep my stash of yogurt cups in a special drawer.
This is a great way to recycle, rather than throwing out plastic. Unless you use the cups for something very pungent or something that stains the plastic (like homemade pesto), you can use the cups indefinitely for this purpose.
Pour enough water in the container to just cover the herbs.
Step 5: Freeze
Place the yogurt cups on a tray and freeze until firm. If you don’t have a deep freeze, your conventional kitchen freezer will work just fine. You may need to remove the yogurt cups from the tray to get them to fit. Just be sure that they are stable and flat in the freezer and they will freeze just fine.
Step 6: Remove cubes and Freeze
Pop each frozen cube into a plastic bag for long-term storage. The water covering the herbs will keep the cube in tact.
Label the bag with the date and contents.
It’s that simple!