How to preserve herbs in the freezer

Fall is here!  And that means the herb season outside is drawing to a close.  You may still have an abundance left in the garden and you’re wondering what you can do with them.  You could dry them but you could also freeze them to pop in soups, stews and stir fries.

My garden is pretty much harvested for the year but I still have lots of lemon balm left.  Lemon balm, if you are fortunate to have some, is one of those perennials that loves to spread out and needs very little tending.  It’s good for digestion and a calming agent. I use it in soup, quick bread, tea, salads, pasta sauce and stir fries. And it has a wonderful lemony smell from the essential plant oil.

The other day I discovered a new use for it and used it as a substitute for lime juice in my avocado soup recipe (because I forgot to put it on my list) and it measured up fairly well (because the soup is pretty bland without the lime kick). I have put the leaves in sun tea along with the tea bags. And I have used it when I make an iced lemon tea bread.   (I’ve mentioned a couple of recipes I don’t have listed yet, I know. And they are on my list to add.  Sorry!)  Some people even like to make a soothing lotion from it.

So freezing lemon balm (as I have already done with my wild oregano) is a great way to bring some of spring back into winter.  And it’s very easy to do!

First, I rinse the herbs, my lemon balm in this case, and set my ice cube trays to the side.  I chop the leaves and drop them into the individual cubes of the tray adding some olive or canola oil up to 3/4 filled for each cube. I then stick the entire tray into a large freezer bag or you could lay wax paper over the top and freeze overnight.

When frozen, I pop them out into a freezer bag.

Now I can easily reach into the freezer and grab a cube to pop into the pan for a stir fry or into some sauteeing onions for a soup base or stew.  You’ll want to lay the bag flat in your freezer so they don’t all clump up.   It’s a great way to add some fresh herbs to your winter fare.

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  1. […] or frozen lemon balm, chopped or parsley […]

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