Living in California, worrying about not having access to the fresh local herbs in the winter, isn’t exactly an issue, but I do remember what it was like living in New York. The minute the first frost hits in the early fall, there is a scramble to save plants and there is a huge sense of loss when you can no longer just walk into the yard and snip off your favorite fresh herbs. If you are
lucky smart enough to have your fresh herbs in pots, you can just bring those in, otherwise you can kiss them goodbye until the start of the next season.
This simple method for preserving fresh herbs is a really great way to keep the fresh flavors of your summer garden or the local farmers market – all through the fall and winter. When thawed or just heated right up from frozen, these frozen cubes work great in stews, sautés, soups, roasts and more. Besides being super helpful and functional, this project is super fun and very simple – it would be a really great and educational project to do with kids.
Regardless of how cold it gets where you live, this is such a great, money-saving way to make the most of your herbs. For me, I love this method of preserving because oftentimes I will buy a large amount of fresh herbs for a recipe that I am testing, however if there are any leftover, they tend to go bad or get sad and wilted before I can get to them again.
You can keep the herbs whole or chop them, depending on how you plan to use them. You can also create various custom herb blends with multiple types of herbs, to create your favorite blend that you know you use often in your favorite soup. Just pull out of the freezer when you are ready to use them and enjoy all winter long!
Though freezing fresh herbs, just as they are, certainly works, freezing and preserving herbs in a good quality olive oil keeps them fresher and the olive oil reduces browning and the freezer burn that can happen when you just freeze the fresh herbs, as is.
Of course, I use my official olive oil of choice, Terra Delyssa Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, since it’s delicate flavor compliments the fresh herbs so nicely and it’s my go-to cooking oil for 95% of what I make. I also use the garlic infused Terra Delyssa Olive Oil for even more flavor.
How-To Preserve and Freeze Fresh Herbs in Olive Oil:
- Choose firm, fresh herbs – wash and dry the herbs, if necessary
- Chop the herbs or leave whole
- You can mix and match creating your own blends based on what you use most often
- Pack the ice cube trays about 3/4 of the way full with the fresh herbs
- Pour olive oil over the top of the herbs, filling the wells
- Label, if you will have a hard time identifying or recalling the herbs or blends that you used (it is quite hard to do once they are frozen)
- Place the trays into the freezer and freeze overnight
- Once frozen, remove the cubes from the trays and place in labeled, ziplock plastic bags and place back in the freezer until you are ready to use.
in place of the olive oil you could also use melted coconut oil, melted butter or stocks/broths. You could also use water for teas and soups.
hearty herbs that you tend to cook with (versus light, delicate herbs usually used raw) fair the best using this method of preserving.
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