An Ultimate Guide on How to Freeze or Dry Your Fresh Herbs

Posted by Cocoyard Garden Supply on

It takes a lot of care and time to grow garden herbs, and the feeling of harvesting them and using fresh herbs in cooking, especially in summer, it's a blessing in itself. Sadly, like summer itself, it's all momentary.

But, no need to be sad, now it is easy to increase the shelf life of herbs whether you pick them from your home garden or buy the whole stem from the store. Moreover, these herbs can be used for at least the next six months. 

This blog will tell the methods of how to freeze or dry your fresh herbs. Also, this guide will discuss;

  • What are herbs, and when is the right time to harvest them?

  • Two different ways to preserve your fresh herbs.

  • Names of herbs that can be dry.

  • Herbs good for freezing

So, let's keep saving fresh herb's life, color, and flavor to use them all year-round.


What Are Herbs?

Herbs are any aromatic plant that many uses as a medicine, food (such as to make pesto or for garnishing), and seasoning—for example, Rosemary, Basil, Thyme, parsley, Greek oregano, dill, and the various mints. 

Similarly, Elderberry flowers, Comfrey, Plantain, Yarrow (flowers and leaves), and many others are used as medicinal herbs. 

Do you know some methods that can preserve the summer herbs to use them later in winter? 


Do Not Miss This Step! 

Before getting to know how to preserve herbs for later use, it is important to understand when to harvest and wash garden herbs. Always keep in mind the following steps before going to freeze or dry fresh herbs.

  • Pick the herb when you see its first flower bud appear, but before it's fully open, this is the time when herbs are at their peak flavor.

  • Morning is the best time to pick the herbs, just before the sun gets hot and after the dew evaporates.

  • Remove the bruised, soiled, or imperfect stems and leaves. 

  • Lightly wash the leaves with the whole stem under cool running water.

  • Shake the herb gently to get rid of excess water. 

  • Last, drain on a paper towel. 

Does this happen to anyone? When a home garden produces an excess of herbs, it is not possible to use all of them together, and definitely wasting them is not an option.

Or when a person has bought some expensive basil or sage for one recipe, and still, some of it has left, and wants to store it for their next use before it gets brown and mushy. What would they do?

To save garden herbs, simply freeze them air dried or dehydrate them. If you do not know how to do freezing and drying, you have come to the right place. This article will discuss different ways to freeze or dry fresh herbs. 


Freezing Method For Herbs 

Freezing herbs is the easy and effective way to preserve the essential oils and spritely flavors of herbs such as fennel, chives, dill, thyme, or any other herb. There are few different methods that can help freeze herbs safely for later use.  

Pack the Herbs In Ice Cubes

Cut or chop the fresh herbs and tightly pack them into ice-cube trays. Add some water to cover and freeze it. This step is optional, remove the herb cubes from the tray and put them in a rigid container or freezer bag. 

Freeze in Ice Layers

This is the most common method; in this, remove the leaves of well-rinsed herbs from the stem and place them dry to dry. Next, put all the leaves in a plastic bag and freeze them. 

You will get a clump of frozen leaves that you can cut and crumble quickly in soups, sauces, etc. On the other hand, put the leaves on a flat tray and freeze them. Later, put the leaves in a plastic bag; doing this will let the person use as many individual leaves as he wants. 

Layer In Olive Oils

Freezing herbs in olive oil are ideal for adding them up in soups, salad dressings, and other dishes. Put herbs in an ice-cube tray and pour some olive oil, and freeze them. 

Later, remove the herb cubes from the ice tray by running the tray under hot water, put the popped herb cubes in a freezer container or plastic wrap, and freeze them.


Know The Herbs Good To Freeze

Below are the names of some herbs that can freeze with stems. 

  1. Lemon verbena

  2. Basil 

  3. Sage 

  4. Savory 

  5.  Dill

  6. Mint

  7. Sorrel

  8. Sweet cicely

  9. Thyme 

  10. Lemon balm

  11. Lovage

  12. Rose mary 

  13. Chives

  14. Parsely

  15. Mint 

  16. Oregano

Freezing herbs works well for cooking, but when it comes to garnishing, freezing is not suitable as herbs become limp when thawed. But no need to worry you can still air-dry or dehydrate them with various methods and preserve plenty of herbs for next use.


Drying Method 

Herbs can be dried in an oven or dehydrator, but the drying time depends on the appliance and herb the person is using. Some herbs like thyme, sage, and oregano dry easily. 

Parsley and basil need a dehydrator as they have thick leaves that will not dry easily unless you're living in an arid climate.

Use a Dehydrator Or Oven

For herbs with thick, succulent leaves, use a dehydrator for drying. Set the dehydrator or oven between 95-110 F and place stems on separate drying trays not to touch each other. 

Once leaves get dried, put them into a paper bag, crumble them with your hands, and store them in glass containers. 

Hang Herbs In Bunches

Some people still use the old method of hanging bunches of herbs in dry, dark, ventilated places. For this method, wash the herbs under cool running water and left them under the sun to dry.  

Next, tie all the herbs with a string and hang them in a dry, dark place. Remove leaves from the stem when dried and place them in an air-tight jar. 

Herbs For Drying 

To make it easy for you, we have listed below some herbs for drying, have a look.

  1. Lovage 

  2. Scented geraniums

  3. Mint

  4. Dill

  5. Basil

  6. Fennel

  7. Sage

  8. Thyme

  9. Parsely

  10. Orgena

  11. Tarragon

  12. Rosemary

  13. Savory

The Ultimate Storing Process

Last but not least, storing the frozen or dried herbs at the right place is crucial. As mentioned earlier, store your frozen herbs in a freezer container or plastic bags and freeze them.

On the other side, use air-tight containers or jars with tight-fitting lids, store the herbs in a cool, dry, dark place, and have no heat and light for dried herbs. 

Remember, herbs must be fully dry before you store them; otherwise, they mold. Surprisingly, dried herbs maintain their color and flavor for three months in a storage cabinet and up to one month in a freezer or refrigerator.

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