Methods of Preserving Herbs: Freezing and Drying


Preserving herbs is a great way to extend their shelf life and ensure that you can enjoy their flavor and fragrance throughout the year. Two popular methods for preserving herbs are freezing and drying. These methods allow you to keep herbs for an extended period of time and retain much of their original taste and nutritional content.

When it comes to freezing herbs, the process is quite simple. First, wash and strip the leaves from the stems. Then, transfer the leaves to ice cube trays or small jars, and fill them up with water. Once frozen, the herb cubes or jars can be transferred to zipper-lock bags for easy storage. When you’re ready to use the herbs, simply thaw them out and they’re good to go. Freezing is a great option for herbs like cilantro, mint, chives, and parsley, as they retain their flavor and aroma well.

Drying herbs is another popular method, usually done using a dehydrator or by air-drying. After washing and drying the herbs, you can either hang them upside down in a warm, well-ventilated space or place them on dehydrator trays. Over time, the herbs will dry out and become crispy. Once dry, the leaves can be crumbled and stored in airtight containers. Dried herbs are perfect for adding flavor to soups, stews, sauces, and other dishes. They can also be used to make infused oils or herb blends.

While freezing and drying are the most commonly used methods for preserving herbs, there are other methods you can try. For example, you can store herbs in oil to create concentrated flavor cubes. Simply blend the herbs with some oil and freeze the mixture in ice cube trays. These herb oil cubes can be added to dishes anytime you need a burst of flavor. Another option is to preserve herbs by rolling them in salt or sugar. This method helps to lock in flavors and extend the shelf life of the herbs.

When it comes to long-term storage, it’s important to properly pack and label your herbs. This will ensure that you can easily access them and avoid any confusion. Remember to test the herbs for flavor and quality before using them in your cooking. Whether you choose to freeze or dry your herbs, make sure to use a method that works best for you and your needs. With a little practice and experimentation, you’ll find the perfect way to preserve your favorite herbs at home.

How to Freeze Fresh Herbs as Leaves and Ice Cubes

Freezing fresh herbs is a great way to preserve their flavor for future use. Whether you have an indoor herb garden or you’re harvesting herbs from your garden in July, freezing them can help you enjoy their taste all year round.

There are two popular methods for freezing herbs: as leaves and as ice cubes. Both methods have their benefits, so you can choose the one that suits your needs best.

Freezing Fresh Herb Leaves

To freeze fresh herbs as leaves, start by washing them well to remove any dirt or other impurities. Pat them dry with a paper towel or let them air dry for a few minutes.

Once the herbs are dry, remove the leaves from the stems and discard any woody parts. Pack the leaves tightly into freezer bags or airtight containers, making sure to remove as much air as possible.

If you have a large amount of herbs, you can also freeze them in ice cube trays. Simply fill each cube slot with herbs and pour a small amount of water or oil to cover them. This will help keep the herbs fresh and prevent freezer burn.

Label the containers or trays with the herb name and the date of freezing, so you can easily identify them later on.

When you’re ready to use the frozen herbs, simply thaw them by placing the container in the refrigerator overnight or in the microwave on the lowest setting. If you’re in a hurry, you can also thaw them directly in soups, stews, or sauces while cooking.

Freezing Fresh Herbs as Ice Cubes

Freezing herbs as ice cubes is a convenient way to store them in smaller portions. Simply chop or tear the herbs into small pieces and pack them tightly into ice cube trays. Fill each cube slot with water and freeze until solid.

Once the herb cubes are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or airtight container. This will help save space in your freezer and keep the cubes fresh for a longer period of time.

When you need a small amount of herbs for cooking, simply pop out a herb cube and add it directly to your dish as it melts. This method is especially handy for dishes that require a specific proportion of herbs.

Other Options for Preserving Herbs

In addition to freezing, there are other methods you can try for preserving herbs. Air-drying is a popular method that involves hanging bundles of herbs in a warm, dry place until they are fully dried. You can also dry herbs in a microwave by placing them between paper towels and heating them on a low setting for a few minutes.

If you have excess herbs, you can also preserve them by making herb-infused oils. Simply place the herbs in a jar, cover them with oil, and let them steep for a few weeks. This will give you a flavorful oil that can be used for cooking or for salad dressings.

By preserving fresh herbs, you can enjoy their flavors even when they are out of season. Whether you choose to freeze them as leaves or as ice cubes, the important thing is to store them properly in airtight containers or bags to maintain their quality for as long as possible.

Now that you’ve learned some options for preserving herbs, you can easily keep them stored and use them anytime you want. So, next time you’re harvesting herbs or have an abundance of fresh herbs, don’t let them go to waste – freeze them for later use!


Click Play to Learn How to Freeze Fresh Herbs

Preserving herbs by freezing is a great way to store them for future use. It is a simple and effective method that helps to retain the freshness and flavor of the herbs. Freezing herbs can be done in different ways, and it provides a convenient option for those who want to have access to fresh herbs all year round.

When harvesting fresh herbs, it is important to wash them well to remove any dirt or insects. After washing, pat them dry or let them drain to remove excess moisture. If you are using herbs with large seeds, like parsley, you must remove the seeds before freezing.

To freeze herbs, you can either chop them into small pieces or leave them as whole leaves. One popular method is to pack the herbs into ice cube trays and cover them with water or olive oil. This allows you to easily portion out the herbs when cooking, as one cube or tablespoon is equivalent to a certain proportion of the herb. Another way to freeze herbs is to store them in zipper-lock bags or airtight containers, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.

If you prefer to freeze herbs directly without any liquid, you can lay them flat on a cookie sheet or tray lined with parchment paper. Once they are frozen, transfer them into freezer bags or airtight containers. This method works well for herbs like mint, which can be easily crumbled or diced after freezing.

When freezing herbs, you have the option to blanch or pasteurize them before freezing. Blanching involves boiling the herbs for a short period and then transferring them to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. This method helps to preserve the color and flavor of the herbs. Pasteurizing herbs involves immersing them in hot water for a short time to kill any bacteria or microbes. Both methods can help to extend the shelf life of the herbs in the freezer.

Freezing herbs can be a convenient way to preserve them for a long time. However, it is important to note that freezing may alter the texture of some herbs. For this reason, some culinary experts prefer drying herbs instead of freezing them. Drying herbs can be done using different methods, such as air drying, using a dehydrator, or even in ovens. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it is up to you to choose the one that works best for your needs.

In conclusion, freezing herbs is a great option to preserve their freshness and flavor. It provides a convenient way to have access to fresh herbs all year round. Whether you choose to freeze them in ice cubes or store them in zipper-lock bags, it is important to properly wash and prepare the herbs before freezing. By following the methods outlined in this article, you can enjoy the benefits of preserved herbs for your culinary creations.

Click play to watch the video and learn how to freeze fresh herbs:

By preserving herbs through freezing or drying, you can ensure that your herb harvest lasts for a long time. Whether you choose to freeze or dry herbs, both methods have their own benefits and can help to prevent the waste of herbs. Experiment with different preservation methods to find the ones that work best for your needs, and enjoy the fresh taste of herbs in your meals throughout the year.

When to Freeze Fresh Herbs

Freezing fresh herbs is a great way to preserve their flavor and aroma for later use. However, not all herbs are suitable for freezing, as some may become limp or lose their taste and fragrance in the process.

When freezing fresh herbs, it is best to use herbs that have a high water content, such as parsley, cilantro, and mint. These herbs freeze well and retain their flavor and aroma when thawed. Before freezing, make sure to wash the herbs thoroughly and pat them dry with paper towels.

There are several methods for freezing fresh herbs. One popular method is to chop the herbs into small pieces and place them in ice cube trays. Fill each cube with a tablespoon or two of the chopped herbs and then add water or olive oil to cover them. Place the trays in the freezer and allow the cubes to freeze overnight.

Another method is to spread the herbs out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze them. This works well for herbs with larger leaves, such as basil. Once the herbs are frozen, transfer them to resealable bags or airtight containers for long-term storage.

For herbs with smaller leaves or more delicate stems, it may be better to blanch them before freezing. Blanching helps to preserve the color and texture of the herbs. To blanch herbs, simply place them in boiling water for a few seconds, then transfer them to an ice bath to cool. Pat the herbs dry and then freeze them using one of the methods mentioned above.

If you prefer to skip the blanching step, you can also freeze herbs directly without any additional preparation. Simply place the cleaned and dried herbs in resealable bags or airtight containers and freeze them. This method works well for herbs like rosemary, thyme, and oregano.

When using frozen herbs in cooking, it is best to add them directly to dishes without thawing. The herbs will defrost quickly in the heat and release their flavors. Frozen herbs can be added to soups, stews, sauces, and other dishes, just like fresh herbs.

It’s important to note that freezing herbs may cause them to lose a bit of their texture. However, the flavor and aroma will still be preserved, making frozen herbs a convenient way to enjoy the taste of summer all year round.

Now that you know how to freeze fresh herbs, it’s time to give it a try. Experiment with different freezing methods and find out which works best for each herb. With the proper freezing and storing techniques, you can enjoy the taste of your favorite herbs even during the coldest winter months.

Learn more about preserving herbs and drying them in our updated article here.

✿ Read More About Herbs.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.