Frozen herbs are the next best thing to fresh

 

Fragrant fresh herbs are one of the best things about summer. Whether you get them by the bunch at the farmers’ market or grow your own, it’s easy to find yourself with big aromatic bouquets of mint, basil, parsley and more on your hands. And not enough ways to use them.

If stored properly, fresh herbs usually last up to five days before they start to wilt or decay. And after you’ve made a few batches of mixed-herb pesto or chimichurri, or some tasty basil syrup, you might still have a lot of herbs on your hands. So freeze them for later!

There are three easy ways to do it:

Freeze them as-is

The fastest method is to wash the herb leaves and gently pat them completely dry. Spread them out on a sheet pan so that they don’t touch. Place the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes, or until they have frozen completely. Transfer them into a ziplock freezer bag. Be sure to label the bag, especially if you freeze more than one type of herbs, because it may be hard to tell them apart. Once they have been defrosted, frozen herbs aren’t ideal for garnishes, but they will taste just fine in recipes.

Freeze them in oil

Blend 1 cup fresh herbs and 3 tablespoons oil in a food processor to form a thick paste. Fill an empty ice cube tray with the paste and freeze until solid. Transfer the herb cubes into a ziplock freezer bag. Defrost to use in sauces, pasta dishes, salad dressings, dips, and other recipes.

Freeze them in water

You can try the same technique with water instead of oil. Or, instead of making a paste, you can place chopped herb leaves into an empty ice cube tray and fill each cavity with a little water. Place in the freezer until solid, then transfer the cubes to a ziplock freezer bag.

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