What do you do when you have a lot of herbs leftover after cooking your delicious meal? Freeze them for later use of course! You should know that freezing herbs will always change its taste just a little bit (nothing beats the taste of fresh herbs!), but it’s always great to freeze some so that all your leftover herbs don’t go to waste. Here at Droponic, we recommend three different ways to freeze your herbs:
1. Freeze herbs in ziplock bags without any water or oil
By freezing your herbs in this way, the freezer will actually preserve them by drying them out. This method of freezing your herb actually changes their taste a quite a bit since the freezer does take out a lot of its moisture so this is not the most recommended method to preserve your herbs. However, this is a great way to preserve your herbs if you’re pressed for time and need to freeze them in a flash.
2. Freeze herbs in water
The best way to retain flavor when using this method is to blanch your herbs before you freeze them. Serious Eats adeptly goes through the science of why blanching herbs will help to preserve their flavors:
Fresh herbs are living things with active enzymes and flavor compounds that change dramatically when heated or damaged. Herbs stored in an ice cube take much longer to melt and incorporate into a sauce than herbs stored in frozen oil, which means that while you’re waiting for the core of that ice cube to melt, the herbs that have already melted into the sauce are busy overcooking and losing fresh flavor. Of course, it also means that your herbs will simply take longer to cook into your soup or sauce.
Blanching herbs can deactivate enzymes, which goes a long way towards maintaining flavor, but more importantly, blanching the herbs first means that they can be packed into a smaller volume. The equivalent amount of herbs takes less space and therefore melts faster.
There we go! After your herbs are blanched, chop them up nicely and place them into an ice cube tray. Pour in water and place your herbs in the freezer for some great tasting herbs later.
3. Freeze herbs in oil (recommended)
Here at Droponic we love freezing our herbs in olive oil. We chose olive oil because it is quite a neutral oil so our herbs won’t be absorbing crazy flavors. You can choose to chop up your herbs or freeze them in small portions. Whichever method you choose should allow your herbs to fit nicely into ice cube trays. Submerge them in olive oil and voila!
Prominent cooking blog The Kitchn even mentions that freezing your herbs in oil is “a great way to have herbs ready immediately for winter stews, roasts, soups, and potato dishes. These dishes usually call for oil to start with, and so you can take a cube of frozen oil, herbs inside, out of the freezer and use this as the base of your dish. Cook the onions and garlic in this herb-infused oil and let the taste of herbs spread through your whole dish.”
And there you go, three different ways to preserve your leftover herbs for another delectable meal!