How I Freeze a Year’s Supply of Herbs

July 24, 2012

HERE AT A GARDEN FOR THE HOUSE, I’m storing my home-grown produce for the long, cold months ahead.  And this includes a year’s supply of culinary herbs. To best preserve the aromatic oils of the leaves, I rely on these easy, herb-specific freezing-techniques:

Herbal “Cigars”.  This is a great way to store  lovage, sage, Italian parsley, and other large, flat-leaved herbs.  To use,  simply cut off a portion of the cigar, and return the rest to the freezer-bag and seal it tightly. Here’s how you roll them:

Remove stems from sage or flat-leaved parsley. Rinse the leaves if you must, but then pat perfectly dry by blotting with a terry towel (wet leaves tend to blacken or turn to mush when frozen).

Pack the leaves into a zip-lock bag (I use quart-size bags), and then roll the bag up tightly, cigar-like, forcing out air as you work. Seal the bag, tie it with rubber bands, and then freeze.

Well, I told you that was fun.
Pesto Cubes. These are ideal for tender-leaved herbs such as basil (above) and oregano, which tend to lose their flavor if not suspended in a liquid of some sort.

Chop 2 cups of leaves with 1/2 cup (or so) of olive oil in the food processor, then spoon this “pesto” into ice-cube trays. After cubes have frozen solidly,  transfer to freezer-bags. Some time during winter, thaw a few cubes, then blend with garlic, pine nuts and parmesan cheese, and poof! — you have pesto for your pasta. You can also drop the cubes in simmering soup.

To Freeze Woody-stemmed Herbs. To store rosemary and thyme, which have tough, woody stems, I first remove the leaves, using this neat trick:

Cut sprigs from plants, lay them out on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet, and flash-freeze. One day later, give the sprigs a toss. Almost every leaf will shake loose from its stem (well, they shake lose for me). Discard stems, shape the paper towel into a funnel, and pour the leaves into air-tight jars or plastic tubs, then freeze.

With herbs in your freezer, you won’t have to rely on  limp and tasteless (and shockingly-expensive)  “fresh” herbs  from the  supermarket. When cooking, use frozen herbs exactly as you would fresh.

Frozen herbs will retain their flavor for up to one year.

In the comments field below, I hope you’ll tell me which herbs you grew this year, and whether or not you intend to preserve them for winter use. As always, I love hearing from you.

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Related Posts:
Rose Geranium Icing
Welcome to My Herb Garden
Lavender-Iced Cupcakes

Comments

  1. Janis in Chicago says:

    Those cigars and cubes are lovely! How would you freeze lovage leaves? Or would you?

  2. Janis – nice to “see” you! Because lovage leaves are similar in texture to flat-leaved parsley, they freeze perfectly well as “cigars.”

  3. Katreader says:

    Oh wow. What great tips. Hopefully I haven't let my herbs go too badly and I can freeze some. I love the info for freezing thyme! Who knew?!? (Well, you did-thanks for sharing!)

  4. erin says:

    Great tips! Thanks!

  5. Katreader – Yes, the thyme trick really works. And because the flash-frozen leaves won't stick together in the jar, you can simply spoon out what you need.

    Erin – You're welcome!

  6. Sheila says:

    The herb and olive oil cubes seem really convenient. Think I'll try that with my oregano. I like to put oregano (and other fresh herbs) in store bought spaghetti sauce. The fresh herbs give it a fresh taste.

  7. The Good Egg says:

    I absolutely love this idea! I dry tons of my basil by the leaf in air-tight bags and just crunch them up as needed, but this is a great idea! The sage and parsley look easy and thanks for a great tip on the teeny weeny leaves of thyme. I always have trouble with those.

  8. Susan says:

    Great idea. I always freeze cilantro in ice cube trays in water, but although they are good for dumping into the pot, they are no good when defrosted, they are just mushy. I am also sure they lose a lot of their flavour done this way too. Do you think the ‘cigar’ method would work for cilantro? Actually I may just try it and get back to you!

  9. Kathy Weston says:

    If you freeze in glass canning jars the flavor is even better! I did thyme and sage this way last year and it was yummy!

  10. Terry Z says:

    I too wonder about the best way to preserve cilantro for winter use. I buy it when I need it for a recipe and then use about 1/4 of what I buy with the rest going to waste before I need it for another dish. Olive oil would not be what I would think of using in Mexican dishes. It looks similar to flat leaf Italian parsley, but it seems to be a lot more fragile.

  11. Terry Z – I’d freeze cilantro the same way I freeze parsley, sage and lovage: as “cigars.” Very easy to cut off what you need, and then return the rest to the freezer.

  12. Ruth Parson says:

    Wow, terrific ideas! Thanks so much Kevin. I’m new to your blog and became an immediate fan. I woke up at 5:30 this morning and the first thing that came into my head as I stumbled out of bed was “hey it’s a Garden for the House Sunday … can’t wait to see what Kevin’s got for me today”. I stumbled back to bed. Waking up a couple of hours later, here we are! Enjoying immensely.

  13. Ruth – What a nice comment to read this morning! Thank you.

  14. Sheila says:

    Kevin, I have never frozen thyme or sage……..thanks! for the info. I mix parsley and chives (seperately) with soft butter and freeze…………January has parsley butter on potatoes! il est très magnifique non? I do know that herbs preserved in fat…or oil etc, (an emulsion) taste herbier!

  15. Sheila – Très magnifique, oui! And those “pesto cubes” are SO convenient.

  16. Gladys says:

    I too freeze cilantro in ice cube trays. I process them in the food processor with a little olive oil. When my tomatoes and peppers are really producing (like now) I make big batches of salsa and drop 2-3 cubes in the mix. I am particular about the freshness of my salsa and knowing where my foods come from. Can’t get any fresher than my own garden. After one cutting of my cilantro, I let the next batch go to seed. It reseeds for me every year. I also process my basil this way and have yummy basil for soups and Italian dishes all winter long.

  17. Donna B. says:

    I would have never thought to make those cigars… brilliance.
    Amazingly enough my sage is pretty fine through the winter… I throw a buncha fallen leaves on top of the plant and harvest the tender growth underneath… but the cigar method is definitely easier!!!
    Basil harvest was abysmal this year. Oh wait, that’s because I forgot to water the plants… hee hee.
    I use that method for thyme – it’s so easy! I save the stems to use as a simmer flavorant… for stock n’ such. Waste nothing!!! ^_^

  18. Virginia says:

    Wow what knowledge! Please tell me if and how you preserve Mint and Tarragon.
    Thank You

  19. Jennifer says:

    Hi Kevin! I, too, would like your thoughts on preseving mint. Mine is growing like crazy and I can’t drink enough mint mojitos to keep up!!!

  20. Nancy Shelly says:

    I’d be interested in freezing mint too. And what about fresh dill – cigar method?

  21. Virginia, Jennifer & Nancy – Mint mojitos – YUM.

    Dill – To avoid a “brick” of frozen dill, flash-freeze sprigs on a baking sheet or tray. Then place the frozen sprigs in a zip-lock-type bag, suck out air with a straw (or vacuum seal), and freeze. Since the sprigs were first frozen individually, they will not stick together.

    Mint – I grow mint under lights on my kitchen counter all winter long. But if you want to freeze this herb, do the following: set whole or chopped leaves in the cubes of an ice-cube tray. Fill the tray half-way with water. The leaves will float to the top, but that’s not a problem. Just freeze as is for an hour or two. Then fill to the top with water, and freeze. The leaves, now fully submerged in a block of frozen water, will retain their amazing flavor. Pop out the cubes and place them a freezer bag. When needed for a cocktail, simply drop the cube into your drink. Or, let the cube melt, and then use the leaves as fresh.

    Tarragon – Strip the leaves from a stem, and then freeze exactly as you would dill or mint. Or, freeze the leaves as a cigar.

  22. Vicki says:

    Basil, sage, thyme, oregano, marjoram, and tarragon will all get frozen this year. Critters came and ate my parsley (again!). I do some basil as “pesto cubes” but also do some as pre-made pesto with all but the cheese, for the ultimate mid-winter easy dinner. It works very well. That way my college daughter can keep some in her freezer and not have to think about keeping things like pine nuts in supply…. She always has cheese! Kevin, thanks especially for the tips on dill, tarragon and mint! Very helpful!

  23. blake says:

    Hello Kevin,

    I so enoy your blog, especially all the pictures and recipies. As I read all the veggies that you freeze, all I can think is that you must have a big freezer. I have a tiny freezer, and when I beleonged to a csa, I quickly learned that as wonderful as freezing most thing are, I juust didn’t have the room, so we do a lot of canning and deydrating. I picked up a dehyrator at a yard sale for ten dollars and dry many leaf greens and most of m herbs. It only takes a few hours, to dry mosy herbs and greens to a dry crip and then I store it all in a glass jar and tightly closed the top, I mostly use glass maynoasie jars to store my herbs in, but sometimes I process so many I put them inthe giant glass pickle jars. I dry, spearmint and peppermint, the chives I do freeze, greek oreagno, thyme, and the time is easy… you dry it completey and then the leaves just fall off. I also dry Swiss chard. I freeze some but I frow so much that I just dehydrate it. I use to save th ewhole dry leaves, know I crush them up to powedered form for soups and some sometimes I add the powder to bread dough for some extra nutrients. WHen you poweder the vegetables as bok choy, kale, swiss chard and mustard greens you can store a lot of leaves in one regular size glass maynaise jar. But its great to have in the winter months. I just couldn’t store everything in a freezer so its a nice option. I store it all in dark cabinates or in the cool basement if I have extra jars.

    Last year we had a bumper crop of tomatoes and we still had can tomatoes from the previous year so we dehydrated the tomotes, cherries, beef and he paste tomatoes. The past tomatoes worked the best but they all did taste good. We dehydrated huge glass pickle jars of them, and we still have more jars from last yearthat taste great. We add them to soups, sandwiches, caseroles. SOme we marinated in Olive oil but we always hydrate tme before using them. My point is we could store all those tomaotes easily in there dried state.

    SoI do freeze some but mostly I can and dehydrate becasue of lack of freeze room and what happnes when you loose power? In my neck of the woods that had happened once too often

    cheers

  24. blake says:

    Oh dear, I just read my post. I type way too fast and sooooooooooooo many typos. I can’t find the edit button. I hope you can read through all the typos and understand what I wrote!

  25. Vicki – Bummer about your parsley! What a good mom you are to make sure your daughter has ready-made pesto in her freezer.

    Blake – I understood your post perfectly! Don’t worry about typos. (I mkae thm all the tiem.) I don’t have a big freezer, but then there are only two of us in this household. Still, I’d like to try my hand at dehydrating food. Let me ask you — how large is your dehydrator?

  26. Deb Nelson says:

    Hey Kevin, great tips! My lemon balm and lemon grass is growing quite well, any thoughts on preserving them? I will definitely be having some frozen herbs in my freezer this year. My garden started out well but kind of fizzled, new beds, new garden area so it is a work in progress. I have an outlet for some lovely horsey poo to put on the garden in the fall and turn in the spring so I expect next year to be better. It is a work in progress. Thanks so much for all your tips and techniques, they have been uber helpful!! I look forward every Sunday to the newsletter.

  27. I just love coming here!!!!!

  28. Carole says:

    Love your personalized way of writing and all your timely and tasty ideas, Kevin!
    I make a couple big batches of pesto in the summer and freeze it, ready-to-use, in small containers (plastic baby food cubes are great if you know someone with a toddler, but I also use spreadable cream cheese tubs). This is so much more convenient for me than having to make it each time I need some. It thaws wonderfully with just a few seconds of microwaving.
    However, I may use your plain basil/oil cube idea for winter dishes that would be better without the added flavors in pesto (can’t think of any at the moment, tho; homemade pesto is sooooo darn good!).

  29. I’m going to try your technique on the basil so I can make pesto out of season.

    Luckily, a few years ago I was able to invest in a very nice dehydrator which works constantly during harvest which leaves me room in the freezer for other things. We had a small freezer but gave it to the BIL for his fish catches. That was nice of us, but now I need it! :)

    Caroline

  30. christine hurd says:

    Now that I know there’s a way to freeze herbs, I’ll grow them again.

    Thank you!

  31. Carla says:

    Hi,
    This is my first time posting a comment.

    I grew borage this year and was wondering if it could be stored in the cigar method as well. I have also frozen chives and the chive flowers. They are easy to add to soups and egg salad this way.
    Thanks,
    Carla

  32. Jan says:

    I was admiring the picture of your Berggarten sage! I used to have some and I loved it! But I’ve been unable to find any starts locally. Still looking….

    Last year, I flash froze whole basil leaves (not really sure why, but seemed like a good thing to do) and then put them in zip bags. (They’re a lot like potato chips when they’re frozen!) The nice thing is: crush the bags and you have crushed basil to use in any recipe! I used it when I was making a blackberry/basil jam, instead of using fresh, and it worked perfectly!! Easy to measure out of the bag, too! Just spoon it right out with the measuring spoon!

    I’ll probably be trying your “cigar method” with some sage this year. It seems to be thriving, as well as the rosemary, on the drought conditions we’re experiencing. Looks like I’ll be eating more sage and rosemary this year!

  33. Deb – What sweet words! Thank you. I’d freeze lemon balm the same way as mint (see comment # 21). Lemongrass is a cinch to preserve. Slice it into smallish pieces (say, 3-4 inches each), and then flash-freeze on a cookie sheet. It will freeze very quickly. Then place in a plastic bag, and roll the bag up tightly as for herbal “cigars.”

    Carolyn Contois – I look forward to your visits here!

    Carole – You are so right about pesto. No other sauce can compare.

    Caroline Baines – Yes, take back your freezer!

    Christine Hurd – You’re welcome!

    Carla – Thank you for taking the time to post. Borage leaves and flowers can be frozen as for mint (comment #21). Borage leaves should make a fine “cigar”, too!

    Jan – Thanks for the excellent basil-tip! I’m with you on rosemary and sage — few herbs can match them for drought-tolerance.

  34. Suzanne K says:

    Kevin, You are going to get me growing more herbs yet!

    Re dehydrator, eons ago I got one of the 5 tray round ones. It works fine… but the summer I had 80 pounds of grapes (=raisins), tons of tomatoes (dried was one thing to do with them) and 100 pounds of apples from a very generous neighbor… I decided I needed more dehydrating power/capacity. I read quite a number of reviews and ended up with an Excalibur. I got the 5 tray and LOVE IT!!!! In hindsight, I probably should have gone whole hog and gotten the 9 tray… but thought I’d use old and new together for added capacity. And, I do, but the old one is slower and just not as great. Here’s a link to the 5 tray on Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/Excalibur-3500-Deluxe-Series-Dehydrator/dp/B001P2FUZC/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1343579664&sr=8-3&keywords=excalibur+dehydrator

    Love dehydrating! I’ve also done bell peppers (chopped up, ready for anything), pears (OMG, the drying concentrates the flavor and they are spectacular), apricots, plums… A friend has made potato chips and zucchini chips and also sprinkles apples and pears with cinnamon sugar before drying = YUM!

    And, I love how much less space the dried goodies take up! And, this saves freezer space (also a premium around here).

  35. Suzanne K says:

    PS – my friend also came up with the idea of dehydrating peppers, onions and tomatoes and storing them all together (I think she chopped most of it) because she’ll frequently use them all in same recipe – just pull some out and done! I got part way there with the chopped/sliced peppers – use them in soup, stew, stir fry…

  36. ceil says:

    I grew rosemary and lavender. Being a “newby” to growing herbs, I am really enjoying reading everyone’s comments. Your blog is wonderful…like having a group of friends engaged in a conversation where everyone has the love of gardening in common. Think I’ll go out and cut some fresh rosemary and see what I can make with it. Thanks so much, Kevin.

  37. Noelle Imparato says:

    Hi Kevin, thanks for those tips. I have lots of spearmint in my garden this year. I froze a big batch allready in zipper bags. But I will try your cigar technique which I think will be more airtight, and will take less space in the freezer. I love your down to earth way of thinking. That’s just how I was brought up on our family farm in France but, having had 10 children to raise, my mother did not spend time for all these neat ways of preserving food you mention here. So thanks again.

  38. Denise in NJ says:

    Although I do have a second freezer (small upright in my shed) the derecho of June 29 and the days of no electricity really made me thankful that I dehydrate much of my home grown produce. Being a teacher, I always stocked up on meats when on sale so that in the summer when there’s no paycheck I have a good supply in the freezer. We lost everything in that freezer during the power outage so now I’m even more committed to relying more on dehydrating and canning and less on freezing. I used a round 5 tray dehydrator that I had picked up at a yard sale for $5 for many years and just donated it to Big Brothers/ Big Sisters because I bought a 9 tray Excaliber with variable temperature. Last year I dehydrated all of my herbs, along with some strawberries, peppers, onions, and tomatoes. They take up much less space and I’m also able to send a supply to my son (a certified chef) who lives 2000 miles away! Now, since the storm, I’m going to try canning meats so that I won’t lose all of our meats at once again.

    For those thinking of buying a dehydrator, I bought the Excalibur after extensive research and review reading. It is incredible. My old round dehydrator had only one temperature, and the bottom was always warmer than the top. The Excalibur maintains the same temperature throughout, and different foods really do need different temperatures to dry. After they’re dry, I put them in a canning jar which I seal with a Food Saver canning jar attachment. When I use some, I open the jar, take what I need, then reseal the jar with the Food Saver. Whole leaf herbs can be packed in FoodSaver bags, but crushed or chopped herbs have to go in jars because they get sucked up the vacuum tube. As an added bonus, while the Excalibur is doing its thing, the whole house smells heavenly – no need for air fresheners/candles, etc. It will however, heat up the room it’s in by a few degrees, so I keep mine in our guest room and close the door.

  39. Suzanne K – I looked at the Excalibur link you sent — seems like a good gadget to have!

    Ceil – You absolutely, positively have to try my Navy Bean & Rosemary Soup! (If you haven’t already.)

    Noelle – Any chance you could pull up a rooted piece of your spearmint and grow it indoors in a pot? I grew spearmint indoors all last winter. It thrived for me beneath fluorescent lights (I have these mounted beneath my kitchen cabinets). What a joy to have this fresh herb “on call.”

    Denise in NJ – I can fully understand your aversion to freezing things when there is a threat the power will go out! If I ever buy a dehydrator, I’ll buy the Excalibur 5- or 9-tray model, based on recommendations received from both you and Suzanne K.

  40. NorseArcher says:

    LOVE your blog! wish i had the space and time to garden as much as you do but we do what we can. this is our first year with a small raised bed veggie garden. the basil was a bust as i tried to grow from seed (heard that was a tough one…) but the parsley was successful and i plan to make “cigars”. your e.mail came at the perfect time as i was just wondering the best way to save it. i’m off to see if you have info on softneck garlic (if not, could you post an entry?) and to see if i need to plant basil seeds in a milk jug over winter… thanks for sharing your knowledge! :)

  41. Beverly says:

    I have frozen cubes of Garlic Scape Pesto in the freezer right now. I defrost two cubes for a pasta dish for 2 for dinner, placing them (frozen) directly into a cold frying pan to defrost, then pour the warm drained pasta directly over the top of them and stir well (heat on low then). I might add a little olive oil but more often, a little of the starchy pasta water to help the cubes loosen and coat the pasta..

    I freeze chives annually using the same method as for black raspberries. I place parchment onto a metal baking sheet, cut the chives into small pieces, spread them on the parchment, freeze them for a few hours, then bag them. My June raspberry harvest often lasts until late January when frozen this way. Chives would last longer if I froze more of them, but somehow other garden chores intervene and suddenly the fall frost has hit and I did not get enough chives into the freezer.

    I like to mix softened cream cheese with chives, shape it into a log in a parchment roll, let it sit in the fridge overnight to cause a flavor explosion. I then spread it on a cracker and top that with a dehydrated tomato or two which I produced in my Excalibur 5 tray dehydrator. The key to this appetizer is to shove the entire cracker into your mouth at once, no nibbling. It’s fabulous.

    This collection of comments is a treasure – So many great ideas here!

  42. Hi kevin,

    I love love your website and I used your garlic scape pesto recipe several times to many accolades….wish I had thought to freeze some! I’m definitely using your tips for freezing herbs and zuchinni. I have Thai basil that’s doing fabulously but my traditional basil not as well. I also have Hot O (hot oregano; very nifty because my family likes spicy) and Stevia I have no idea what to do with. Any ideas?

    I also wanted to get your permission to use your zuchinni fritter recipe on a blog a write for edible South Shore magazine (Massachusetts) My blog is all about using local food products and I made your fritter recipe last night, along with zuchinni black bean burgers witha mango salsa. Of course I will give full credit to your website which I love and have already directed a few of my friends to it. Your photos and your ideas and your writing are all stellar. Thanks
    Katherine

  43. Syl Grant says:

    I have never tried anything like what you do, instead, at the end of the season I have various herbs hanging to dry all over my house. Though some I divid off a portion of the plant, cut it back and grow it in my kitchen window. After reading your wonderful as usual article and tasting pesto in my mind, I think your way is a major improvement. Plus pesto is treated like peanut butter here, I would eat it everyday if I could and your method is so easy.

  44. Hi Katherine – So glad you enjoy this crazy site. Yes, with credit you can reprint the Zucchini Fritters recipe.

    Syl – I’m with you on pesto. Would gladly eat it every day.

  45. Jennifer Gilmour says:

    Kevin – I love, love, love your blog. So much useful information and wonderful humor expressed beautifully. With your encouragement I cleared a section of my overgrown yard and started my first veggie/herb patch. Even without mastering the watering system yet, the veggies are producing and the herbs are growing like CRAZY! Thank you for your great instructions and photos on how to freeze and dry herbs. It gives me time to learn how to cook with them (that will be harder than growing them!) Thank you for the joy you bring to so many!

  46. dj says:

    my tomatoes are not ripe and dont know when they will be. would love to make cheese but dont know how

    dj

  47. sharon says:

    Any thoughts on an overabundance of lemongrass?

  48. Hi sharon – see comment #33 above.

  49. Kerry says:

    Kevin, I’m really enjoying your website with loads of very helpful information. Thank you!

  50. Hi Kerry – So glad you find this crazy place useful! Thanks for the sweet comment.

  51. brenda cole says:

    Alright Kevin. You have motivated me. I’m freezing herbs this year. I also have a dehydrator from my previous attempts at going “raw vegan” (don’t ask), so might go ahead and dry some herbs as well.

    I do have a bit of a time saving tip along this same vein for those lazy/time challenged cooks out there: I will chop several heads of garlic in a food processor along with some EVOO, and then freeze it in mini ice cube containers for future use. Then on nights when I don’t feel like chopping up garlic, I reach for my garlic cubes (rather than settling for dry garlic powder). I got the idea from “Trader Joes”, who actually sells frozen garlic (as well as some herbs) cubes.

  52. Antoniette says:

    Kevin, Thank YOU so much for the tip on thyme! I have both regular Thyme and Lemon Thyme, and I am always struggling with how to get the leaves off the woody stems. Once again, you are my hero!

  53. Michelle says:

    How do you “flash freeze”? Can I just use my regular freezer? And will oregano leaves shake off as well?

  54. Hi Michelle – When you flash-freeze, you lay out ingredients in a single layer on a baking sheet, and freeze them. I use a regular freezer to accomplish this.

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  56. Alyce says:

    How timely. Just “pruned” my basil and started to dry it, but will freeze with olive oil in stead. Thanks for the tip of that. Also want to keep the rosemary but getting the leaves off has always been a problem. Side joy: my hands smell delicious after trimming basil.

  57. susa Ball says:

    Great ideas. I usually grow a lot of basil along with all of the other herbs and I make my pesto up to the point of adding cheese. At that point I put it in 2-4 ounce freezer containers and freeze it. When ready to use I defrost it then add the cheese. Works great. I have a son in law that usually gets at least half of it. Oh another tip and its a great one. I got this from Michael Chiarello the chef. You can use a chewable vitamin C tablet crushed and then put the powder in your pesto to keep it green. I went one step further and bought ascorbic acid and it is wonderful. Even gives a fresh citrus twang. Don’t go overboard, just a dash.

  58. Ruby Redkins says:

    Hi. I love your blog, just found it…. but then again, I’ve never googled freezing herbs either so 2/2 :-) I had a question about the color of the basil when you freeze it in the cigar type roll. Does it retain the pretty green or go all dark?
    Thanks in advance,
    Ruby

  59. Hi Ruby – Basil will turn a dark green color after it freezes.

  60. Linda C says:

    I like to freeze basil to use all winter in my homemade tomato sauce. I use a rectangular plastic bin (with a blue lid :) and line the bottom with a paper towel folded to make four layers. I wash the leaves and drain on paper towels for about an hour until they are dry. Put them in the container and put another paper towel folded several times on top of them. As summer progresses, I keep adding to the container and periodically change the top paper towel. My basil does not turn dark (well, sometimes the bottom layers) and maintains its color and taste. To use, I just remove some frozen leaves, crumble them, and add to recipe. I have tried the basil in oil in cubes, but find my way works as well. I guess the paper towels help to keep the frost from penetrating and destroying the leaves.

  61. Kevin, I’m just wondering – how exactly do you go about flash-freezing something?

  62. Hi Linda C – Sounds like a good (and certainly easy!) way to freeze basil.

    Mrs. Handyverger – Flash freezing — at least in Kevin-land — means placing ingredients in a single layer on a baking sheet, and then freezing them. They freeze rapidly this way.

  63. Lori says:

    You are so helpful.

  64. Fantastic! I had mental images of liquid nitrogen baths. ;) Thank you, Kevin! Can’t wait to try this with my herbs.

  65. Steffie says:

    Love it! I have been making herb cigars and oil/butter cubes for years.. I found a great way to store in the freezer is to use one of those really small Rubbermaid sets of drawers. They fit nicely on the shelf and hold all the cigars and it is so simple to pull out a little drawer as opposed to digging around. It works really well!

    Another thing I do is to wrap the “cigar” with waxed paper or plastic wrap first and then put them in the ziplock bag. Then, when I need some I just roll back one end of the cigar and snip off what I need with scissors. That way I don’t have to wrap and re-wrap, I just tuck the end back together and stick it back in the bag.

  66. libby says:

    LOVED your instructions on starting seed gardens in milk jugs!! I like to buy seeds from various distributors on Amazon,but we get to Maine too late to start them in the garden! After reading about your method, I think we will try that and just take the jugs in the car! As we are in southern Florida for the winter, we’ll wait a while before starting the seeds. Any other hints would be most welcome!

  67. libby says:

    forgot to ask if I freeze tarragon, the French variety, the way you would thyme?

  68. Shannon says:

    How fantastic!!! I have always dried mine because I had no idea how to freeze them. I will definitely be making some cigars this year.

  69. Debbie says:

    I am growing Kitchen herbs this year (and every following year) 1
    Basil, Chives, Cilantro, Oregano, Parsley and mint … to Start.
    Have any suggestions for me?
    New beds and herb box being designed now. :-)

  70. Tina says:

    Hi, great tips. I just cut my flat leaf parsley and trying this method. Can I do this with chives?

  71. Maya says:

    Hi Kevin,

    I’m a member of a community garden in Montreal (QC), and we’ve created a small herb garden for everyone to use. I’d like to have your permission to translate some of the techniques you show here to preserve herbs, and post on our (physical) posting board for our gardeners. Of course, your website would always be mentioned as source and reference.

    Thank you for letting me know.

    Maya

  72. Paulette says:

    Thanks for the info on having fresh herbs for winter. This is my first years growing herbs. I had been trimming and tossing them into the yard prior to mowing. Read this today and took trimmings straight to the kitchen for freezing. What a neat idea for basil cubes……I have some now. I gew cilantro but honestly not sure I like it or at least I think that is what I used, no marker, guess I should look it up. I am so enjoying learning about growing so much.

  73. ingmarie peck says:

    I have Basil “growing out od my ears” per dear husband now I know how to freeze them too. Thanks Kevin. great tips.
    Ingmarie

  74. nancy says:

    fresh sage leaves – how do you dry them without turning black? how do you freeze them. do they need to be in an emulsion to freeze?

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