A home garden doesn’t have to contain only fruits and vegetables. It can also be a wonderful place to grow fresh herbs such as oregano. Herbs are good for so many things other than cooking, like detoxing you liver and kidneys. To keep fresh herbs lasting longer, one option is to dry them. However, herbs that have a high water content tend to mold before they dry. For herbs that have a high water content, a better option is to freeze them. Herbs that have a high water content include tarragon, mint, chives lemon balm, and basil. The process of freezing will cause the fresh herbs to become limp, but the flavor of the herbs will be preserved for quite a while. Fresh herbs that are frozen can keep their flavor for many months.
How To Freeze Fresh Herbs
There are several ways to freeze fresh herbs. Think about what kinds of dishes you will be using your herbs for. Once you know that, pick a method that is best.
Cookie Sheet Method
If you don’t know in advance how you will be using your herbs, then this first method works well no matter what. Pick the freshest herbs that you can find out of your herb garden. Rinse them thoroughly, and pat them dry with a paper towel. Lay a section of wax paper (or parchment paper) on a cookie sheet. Spread out your herbs on the cookie sheet, and pop them into the freezer overnight, or for about 8 to 10 hours. After that amount of time, take out the herbs, and place them into a freezer bag that has a tight seal. Get out as much air from the bag as you can, and zip up the bag. Put the freezer bag back into the freezer until you’re ready to use your herbs.
Ice Cube Tray Method
Another method is called the ice cube tray method. This method of freezing herbs works well if you plan to use your herbs in stews or soups. Again, pick the freshest herbs out of your garden, and rinse them thoroughly. Pat them dry with a paper towel to get rid of any excess moisture. Hand chop the herbs, or use a food processor. Place the chopped herbs into an ice cube tray. You want to use about one tablespoon of the herbs for each cube slot. Fill up the ice cube tray with whatever stock you will be using for your soup or stew. Place the ice cube tray in the freezer, and leave it in there overnight, or for about 8 to 10 hours. After the time is up, place the frozen cubes into a freezer bag, and close tightly. Again, get out all of the excess air that you possibly can. You can also put the whole ice cube tray into the freezer bag instead of popping out the cubes. Put the freezer bag into the freezer until you’re ready to use your herbs.
*You can use the ice cube method even if you’re not using the herbs in stew or soups. Instead of using the stock, just fill up the ice cube slots with water.
Ice Cube Tray Method Using Oil
If you plan on using your herbs in meals that require oil, you can use the ice cube tray method, only this time you’ll be adding oil to it, as a bit of preparation for the dish. Select your freshest herbs from your garden, and wash them thoroughly. Pat them dry with a paper towel. When you hand chop, or put your herbs into the food processor, add in a third of a cup of oil. You want to add a third of a cup for every cup of herbs. Place the chopped herbs and oil into the ice cube tray, and freeze overnight or for 8 to 10 hours. Again, you want about one tablespoon of the herbs in each ice cube slot. After the time is up, place the cubes or the whole tray into a freezer bag, and freeze until you’re ready to use the herbs.
These methods of freezing fresh herbs are simple, and they don’t take much time at all. If you have a lot of fresh herbs in your garden, and you’re not sure if you’ll be able to use them before they spoil, freezing them is definitely an option. Freezing herbs can preserve the flavor for several months, and there’s no change in how they’ll make your meals taste.
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