Freezing & Drying Garden Herbs: A Guide To Preserving

Freezing & Drying Garden Herbs

Preserving herbs for winter is a great way to add delightful organic flavor to warm dishes like soups, stews, and sauces. For optimal results, harvest herbs at their peak when oils are most flavorful. Peak harvest time occurs during the early flowering stages, just prior to the flower’s opening.

After picking your herbs of choice, carefully rinse them to remove any lingering dirt or tiny garden pests. Then, gently pat the herbs dry with a paper towel. Now, you may begin the drying or freezing process.

How to Dry Garden Herbs

Herbs hanging in front of rustic wooden background

Learning how to dry herbs is quite simple. Seasoned herb dryers know the fastest and simplest way to dry herbs is to place them in a food dehydrator or in a conventional oven on the lowest possible heat setting. However, others prefer a more naturalistic, aromatic, and decorative approach. For nostalgic herb dryers, loosely gather herbs for even airflow and tie them together with garden twine or thick string. Hang herbs upside down in a dry, cool and dark area. Herbs are fully dry when they are brittle and fall apart easily. When herbs are completely dry, store them in an airtight container for later use.

Best Herbs For Drying

How to Freeze Garden Herbs

Frozen Herbs on a wooden table

Freezing herbs can be slightly more involved than drying, yet these methods are still incredibly simple and ultra-convenient. There are several methods for freezing herbs; below we have outlined the simplest to the most decadent.

Top Tip – Herbs should be cleaned and dried prior to freezing. When freezing an abundance of herbs or different kinds of herbs, be sure to label your containers appropriately.

  1. Spread herbs in a single layer on a baking sheet. Set in the freezer and let freeze for approximately 24 hours. After herbs are completely frozen, store them in an airtight container in the freezer for later use.
    • Freezing for any longer than 24 hours may result in freezer burn, darkening of natural colors, and loss of flavor.
  2. Mince herbs and tightly pack contents into ice cube trays. Fill trays about 2/3 full with minced herbs. Gently pour water into trays. Water should fill approximately ½ of the tray. Freeze for 24 hours. Once completely frozen, add another layer of water to top off the remaining space. Freeze again. When the second round of freezing is complete, store cubes in a plastic bag and label them appropriately. Use ice cubes in party drinks or add flavor to stews, soups, and hearty sauces.
    • Some people allow the ice cube(s) to thaw in a bowl or small dish and drain the excess water before using the herbs.
  3. Mince herbs and tightly pack into ice cube trays. Fill trays approximately 2/3 full of olive oil, broth, or melted butter. Freeze for 24 hours. After completely frozen, store in an airtight container in the freezer for later use.
    • These warm, rich, and creamy herb ice cubes serve as a staple item in practically any dish you’re cooking. Add these ice cubes to roasts, soups, stews, sauces, fish, chicken, steak, and nearly anything else!

Best Herbs For Freezing

Herbs are a staple ingredient in most recipes. They can be easy to grow and easy to preserve. The fresh garden herbs you have preserved are packed full of flavor more so than what you will find at a grocery store. It is a great activity to share with the family

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