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June 27, 2011

Freezing your Herb Crop

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In the middle of winter the smell of fresh basil or oregano can evoke memories of hot summer days.

I start my basil from seed in late May or early June. Then the heat, sun and rain do wonders to my wee basil seeds.

Every year I can hardly wait to use this amazing aromatic herb that not only transforms a simple tomato sauce into Mediterranean nirvana, but gives you a great dose of healthy antioxidants.

Healthy herbs, like oregano, rosemary and basil, can reduce your risk of cancer, up your immunity, and fight against those nasty free radicals before they cause damage to your cells.

I freeze oregano and basil so I can enjoy that taste of summer all year long. Then I just toss my frozen herbs into any cooked dish that I would use fresh herbs in. The only exception is rosemary. I dry my rosemary or buy fresh at my grocery store come December.

The wonders of Toronto weather.

The wonders of Toronto weather

 

Here is the way that I freeze them.

  • Wash the herbs in a clean sink of cold running water.

Fresh basil having a wee bath in a clean sink

  • Spin or pat dry.
  • Pick off the leaves. Discard any yellow or brown leaves and the stems. If there is any moisture left on the leaves, pat dry again or let sit on a clean paper towel or a clean tea towel until fairly dry.
  • Place the herbs into a food processor or blender.

 

  • Add either 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil or canola oil. The ratio is approximately 2 cups (500 mL) of fresh herbs to ¼ cup (60 mL) of oil.
  • Pulse till well blended. Scrap down any big bits.
  • Pulse once more until it is more like a thick paste than mashed herbs.

 

  • Place into clean plastic baggies and gently flatten out to remove any air pockets. When you are finished it should look like a thin piece of paper.

 

  • Seal the bag and place in your freezer on a flat surface. Store in your freezer for up to 6 months.
  • To use – break off as little or as big a piece as you want and add to your favourite recipe. Return the rest to your freezer. Remember fresh or frozen herbs aren’t as intense as dried herbs.

Note: Some cooks use ice cube trays for freezing bulk quantities of fresh herbs and that’s a great method as well. I find that a frozen ice cube size of basil or oregano may be too much for what I’m cooking so I prefer this baggie method. Unless you use the silicone candy size trays. They are the perfect size for basil and oregano.

Whichever methods you use baggie or ice cube/candy tray come January when you’re making a big pot of tomato sauce you’ll be reminiscing about summer as soon as you smell those fresh herbs hitting the tomato sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Comments on “Freezing your Herb Crop

Getty Stewart Drying Basil
July 30, 2013 at 11:55 am

[…] friend and fellow Professional Home Economist, Mairlyn Smith has great instructions on how to freeze basil so that it retains it’s beautiful green colour.  If you’re short on freezer space you […]

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Getty Stewart How to Store Fresh Basil
September 17, 2015 at 4:27 pm

[…] two ways to keep fresh, cut basil lasting as long as possible. Of course, you could also dry it, freeze it (advice from Professional Home Economist Mairlyn Smith) or turn it into pesto – but for now, […]

Reply
Getty Stewart The Biggest Lie About Basil
September 18, 2015 at 11:28 am

[…] How to Freeze Basil […]

Reply
How to Store Fresh Basil
February 10, 2016 at 12:47 pm

[…] two ways to keep fresh, cut basil lasting as long as possible. Of course, you could also dry it, freeze it (advice from Professional Home Economist Mairlyn Smith) or turn it into pesto – but for now, […]

Reply
Carolina
November 2, 2017 at 1:11 am

Great idea! I blended my basil with olive oil, flattened it in a ziplock bag and froze it. It’s true the flavour is not as potent, but it’s present in my sauce when I used it, so it saved my plant for a better use and from the depth of my trash can!
Many thanks (from Dubai)

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