Storing Herbs by Freezing

A friend of mine has been trying something new this year. They are storing their herbs not dried, but frozen. The freezing method is good for herbs with high moisture content. There are two popular ways to freeze herbs. The first option you basically store the herbs in ice by using ice cube trays and the second is using a flat surface such as a cookie sheet.

Ice cube trays -- Do not use ice trays that you use for ice, you will want your own separate trays for the herbs to prevent your trays from absorbing any of the herbal flavors.

First, make sure your herbs are clean. I usually chop up the herbs with a scissors but you can keep them whole, just make sure the herbs fit in the ice cube trays. Next, place the herbs inside each compartment in the tray. Try to keep the filling consistent, such as putting 3 basil leaves in each cube so you will know how many cubes to use later. Fill each compartment half way with water and put in the freezer until the cubes are mostly frozen. Fill the remainder of the cubes with water covering any basil (or other herb) which may have floated to the top of the water. Place back in the freezer and when completely frozen transfer the cubes into sealable freezer bags. Label and date each bag..
Flat surface freezing: This method is fairly straight forward and requires less steps, Make sure your herbs are clean. You then pat them dry with some paper towels. Next, spread them out on a cookie sheet or other flat surface, making sure not to overlap any of the leaves. If the herbs are overlapping, they will stick together when frozen and cannot be separated. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer. Once the herbs have frozen, place them in small freezer bags. Label and date the bags.
In the case of herbs such as rosemary, dill and thyme, it is best to leave these herbs with their stems intact and place in freezer bags with 3-4 sprigs per bag.
Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers

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