Can you freeze fresh herbs? How to make that bunch last for longer

We cover the ins and outs of this important kitchen technique. Freezing herbs can be a great way to save them for the future, you just need to know how.

Updated

wooden spoons with various herbs, spices, and seasonings

Key steps

1.     Assess whether the herb you have is suitable for freezing

2.     If so, wash and pat dry

3.     Do a quick initial freeze placed on a flat pan tray

4.     Then transfer to an airtight container

 

Maybe you’ve recently learnt how to keep herbs fresh by drying them out. But what about freezing? Is this another good way to store excess fresh herbs and if so, what kind of things can you do with then once frozen or defrosted? Read on for tips on how to freeze herbs and which herbs are the kinds to freeze.

Preserving herbs in fats helps to preserve the flavour – if you want to know how to keep herbs fresh for future use in roasts or fried dishes, try beating chopped or basil into soft, unsalted butter, and freezing in small cubes.

Can you freeze fresh herbs?

So, you’ve got a bunch of coriander or mint leftover from a big cooking session and don’t want it to go to waste. Can you freeze herbs? Yes! For many different types of herbs, you absolutely can. There are some, however, that freeze better than others. Here’s a list of the herbs you definitely CAN store in this way:

  • Savory
  • Sorrel
  • Oregano
  • Mint
  • Sweet woodruff
  • Tarragon
  • Lemongrass
  • Dill
  • Chives
  • Thyme
  • Borage

You’ll notice these tend to be the thinner, smaller kinds of herbs, and this is generally a good guide. Herbs like chives and dill are better choices for freezing than larger leaves like coriander and basil, which have a higher water content. That said, even bigger herbs can generally be frozen; they will just be a bit floppier when you come to use them.

How to freeze herbs

As with other kinds of food freezing, there are a few steps you need to go through to freeze them properly. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Wash the herbs thoroughly and pat dry
  2. Cover a sheet pan with a layer of baking paper, then lay the herbs on top in a single layer.
  3. Place in the freezer and wait for around 30 minutes
  4. Remove from the freezer: the herbs should be fully frozen. They can now be easily placed in whatever food storage containers you have to hand.
  5. Place in the appropriate storage containers, being sure to label correctly with the name of the herb and current date. Always get as much of the air out of containers as possible before putting back in the freezer as this prevents defrosting.
If you’re cutting the herbs before freezing be careful with the blade, a big bunch of herbs can obscure your fingers and it’s no fun to cut yourself.

Freezing herbs: The pros and cons

Freezing can be a great way to deal with leftovers to prevent food waste and save money. The best thing about freezing herbs if that they’ll be available for use whenever you need them and can be stored in the freezer for months. However, it is worth being aware that some herbs lose their texture or even some of their flavour on freezing; so, once they are defrosted, they won’t work for dishes like salads. Be sure to check the recipe to work out whether frozen herbs are suitable if you’re not sure.

And those are our top tips on freezing herbs! Next time you have a big bunch of leftover dill or thyme, try this method and enjoy putting a little bit in your cooking for months to come!

Originally published