This brief tutorial on how to freeze fresh herbs in ice cube trays will help you make your herbs last all year!
I’ve mentioned my love of fresh summer produce before, but have I told you how much I love fresh herbs? Nothing adds more flavor to a meal than some fresh basil, or parsley, or maybe even an herb-infused oil. I’ve been fortunate to be blessed with a bounty of herbs in my garden, and as a bonus, my CSA has been sending tons my way as well! In fact, I have so many herbs, that I can hardly use them all up. That’s where freezing comes into play.
I learned how to freeze fresh herbs from my mom, who suggested freezing herbs in olive oil in an ice cube tray. It seemed a little weird, but I tried it. Guess what? It was great! The herbs kept their fresh flavor, which meant I could savor them for months.
While this post barely qualifies as a recipe, it does serve as a super easy tutorial to show you how you can do this yourself. Since I don’t include measurements, please read the rest of this post so you don’t miss any important details.
How exactly do I freeze herbs in ice cube trays?
It’s simple! Take some herbs, put them in an ice cube tray, and cover them with some olive oil (or another oil, like avocado oil). Freeze. When they’re frozen solid, pop each herb cube out and put them in a zip-top bag.
What do I do with frozen herb cubes?
The possibilities are endless. Add chives or dill to mashed potatoes. Use thyme and rosemary in chicken or beef marinades. Add oregano to salad dressings. Use almost any herb in a soup. Basically, if the recipe calls for some herbs and some olive oil, you can use some of these cubes. Frozen basil would work well in this Garlic Scape Chimichurri. You could even sub some fresh frozen rosemary and thyme for the dried version in this Beer and Brown Sugar Braised Short Rib recipe.
How much of each herb should I freeze?
Freezing herbs in olive oil is not a one-size-fits-all process. Before you start, think about how you will use each herb. Take rosemary, for example. I don’t use a lot of rosemary, but I do use some in marinades. Since the flavor is so strong, I pluck about a 1/2 tsp of rosemary leaves from the stem, place them in an ice cube mold, and just barely cover them with olive oil. That seems to be just enough to add to a marinade for the size crowd that I am feeding, but I can always use a few cubes worth, if necessary. When I freeze chives, I tend to use larger amounts, since I find it to be more mild.
TL;DR: Freeze strong-flavored herbs in smaller amounts, and more mild herbs in larger amounts.
How would you use these frozen herbs? Let me know below!
Frozen Herbs in Olive Oil
A quick tutorial on how to freeze fresh herbs in olive oil to enjoy all year.
- a variety of fresh herbs
- olive oil or avocado oil
Wash the herbs and separate them based on type. Discard any tough stems that you would not want to eat.
Chop the herbs into the size that you would use in a recipe (for example, finely mince chives, or cut basil into thin strips [chiffonade]).
Add some of one type of herb to an ice cube mold (see post discussion on how much to use). Only use one type of herb in each mold. Add enough olive or avocado oil to just cover the herbs; it's okay if the mold is only half full.
cover the mold (if it has a lid), and place flat in the freezer. It should take about 4 hours or a little more to freeze. I leave them overnight.
Once frozen, quickly run the tray under hot water to loosen the cubes, and then pop each cube out. Place the cubes in a zip top bag, and label the bag with the type of herb that's in there.
Add frozen herb cubes to soups, dressings, marinades, or anything else that you would normally use fresh herbs!