There are many ways of preserving herbs. Last week I talked about drying herbs. Another way to preserve herbs is to freeze them. Herbs that have been frozen actually taste fresher than dried herbs, but only for the first four months or so after freezing. After that the flavor declines rapidly. Freezing herbs should be done in addition to drying herbs not as a substitute for it.
There are two methods of freezing herbs. For lemon verbena, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, sage or tarragon use whole leaves, discarding the stems. To freeze dill, fennel or thyme, use tender sprigs. Basil discolors when it is frozen; to keep it green, dip the branches in boiling water, just for a second or two. Then discard the stems and gently dry the leaves.
Anything you’re freezing should be completely dry. Spread the herbs out on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer.
As soon as the herbs are frozen pack them into heavy plastic freezer bags. Place the bags in freezer safe containers for storage in your freezer.
For herbs that tend to fade rapidly when frozen, such as cilantro or chervil; combine 1 cup of chopped herbs with 1/3 to 1.2 cup water in a blender. Freeze in ice cube trays. As soon as the cubes are frozen place in plastic freezer bags. Use the cubes where you would the herb. Each cube equals about 2 Tbsp of freshly chopped herbs.
It’s always sad to see the end of the gardening season. Whether you dry your herbs or freeze them do take time to preserve your harvest so you can enjoy your fresh herbs all winter!