From basil, oregano, and thyme, to mint, rosemary, and chives, herb gardens offer many health benefits and are a great way to add flavor to meals and beverages. As the colder weather creeps in, it’s a good idea to preserve some of your outdoor herbs so you can enjoy them all winter long!
Many people like to preserve herbs by drying them. That’s certainly a valid option, but there are other ways you can keep them fresh and enjoy them after the summer.
I like to make big batches of pesto with basil and freeze it for future pasta dishes and pizza.
Basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, and chives are flavorful additions if making a homemade vegetable broth.
You can also preserve batches of your herbs in the freezer so you can add them as garnishes to meals or to soups, sauces, and other dishes that you cook throughout the winter (like I did).
Herb Oil Cubes
Herb oil cubes are an excellent option for the Mediterranean herbs: parsley, basil, sage, oregano, rosemary, savory, thyme, and more.
Chopping them up and blending with a small amount of oil adds rich flavor to soups and sauces. You can combine herbs or do them separately. I recommend the latter.
After harvesting bunches of herbs, wash well in a salad spinner, and dry thoroughly. Freezing with moisture present will lead to freezer burn.
Chop the plants into small pieces, or use a food processor if you have a lot.
I opted to make this batch into a paste. With the food processor running, add about two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Do the same if chopping the herbs into bigger pieces.
Pack the herbs into ice cube trays and freeze. Store in a ziplock bag and add to any recipe that calls for fresh herbs!
Simple Fresh Herb Rolls
Another great way to preserve herbs you have growing in the garden is to roll them into cigars and keep them in the freezer.
Once again, after harvesting, be sure to wash well and dry completely.
Place at the bottom of a large freezer bag and roll tightly, squeezing the air out as you go. Once firmly rolled up, seal the bag.
Anytime you need herbs, use some kitchen scissors to snip the amount that you need.
Herb Ice Cubes
Having mint ice cubes on hand is a great way to elevate a beverage from ordinary to extra delicious.
It’s super easy; take the leaves off the mint and wash well.
Place several leaves at the bottom of the ice cube tray and fill with water. Freeze and enjoy with your favorite drink!