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Freeze Herbs – For Cooking All Year Round

Without herbs, many dishes would taste a bit boring. Therefore, in summer, these flavors are often found in gardens or on window sills. When the warm temperatures say goodbye, the cold in the freezer is allowed to preserve the leaves.

Frozen is the best alternative to fresh

While the frost shuts down herb growth in the garden, herbs are still available fresh in supermarkets. But these offers usually have two disadvantages: their price is higher than during the season and they mostly come from greenhouses. A good alternative is to freeze intensely fragrant herbs that have been saturated with sunlight in good time.

  • a large part of the ingredients is retained
  • often taste better than dried herbs
  • the green color is largely retained

These herbs are good

When it comes to preserving herbs, the main thing is to preserve aromatic substances. Wild garlic, basil, borage, dill, coriander, lovage, mint, burnet, parsley, sorrel, and chives taste good even after a long stay in the freezer.

If you love Mediterranean cuisine, you will surely appreciate oregano, thyme, and rosemary. In order for these herbs to enrich your dishes in winter, you should not freeze them, but rather dry them. Drying intensifies their distinctive flavor and is therefore the best way to make them available off-season.

The fresher, the richer in content

Many herbs not only taste and smell good but they are also filled to the brim with natural substances that are beneficial to our health. But harvested herbs quickly lose this valuable content. That’s why it’s important not to leave them for long after harvesting, but to freeze them as soon as possible.

Prepare herbs for freezing

Herbs must be prepared before freezing in such a way that they can be used immediately from the freezer.

  1. Wash the leaves and stems thoroughly under running water.
  2. Then dry the wet herbs with paper towels or use a salad spinner.
  3. Chop the leaves as finely as you will need them later.
  4. Divide large quantities of herbs into smaller portions and place them in suitable freezer containers or bags.
  5. If possible, vacuum the freezer bags or squeeze out the air with your hand, because oxygen eats away at the aroma.
  6. Label the containers with the contents and date and place them in the freezer immediately.

Ice cube-sized herbs

A spoonful of herbs is enough for most dishes. Freezing in ice cube trays has proven to be a good way to remove this small amount easier. For this, the finely chopped herbs are placed in the container and filled with a little water. After the cubes are fully frozen, they are removed and stored in a freezer container.

Durability

Frozen herbs keep enough aromas in the freezer for a whole year to enrich our dishes as usual. Only specimens frozen as ice cubes should be used within six months.

The brown discoloration is not necessarily a sign of spoilage. Although some Mediterranean herbs change color when the temperature falls below zero, the taste remains the same.

Using frozen herbs

Finely chopped herbs do not require a long thawing time, so they can be added to a cooking dish directly from the freezer. Note, however, that many of them do not tolerate long cooking times. Only add such herbs just before the end of the cooking time.

Conclusion for fast readers:

  • Suitable herbs: wild garlic, basil, borage, dill, coriander, lovage, mint, burnet, parsley, sorrel, chives
  • Freshness: ingredients are lost quickly, so freeze freshly picked
  • Preparation: wash and dry herbs; chop finely; portion
  • Packing: In suitable freezer containers; squeeze out air; label
  • Tip: Freeze the chopped herbs with a little water in ice cube trays
  • Shelf life: Twelve months; Herb ice cubes: six months
  • Usage : Add directly from the freezer to the cooking food
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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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