freezing herbs for a taste of summer all year round

Every autumn, I make a lot of pesto with my sweet basil and put it up to freeze.  This year, I’ll be freezing fresh basils and oregano as well for soups and such in the winter.basil on table

Before freezing herbs, there’s some prep work that is very important for health and safety reasons.  It is essential that you rinse your herbs clean.  I usually fill up my sink, soak everything so the bugs float to the top, then let the water out and spray rinse one more time.

Afterward, I lay out clean cloth napkins reserved for homesteading projects and place the basil one layer thick on them.  I cover them with another layer then roll them up gently so that cloth can soak up most of the water.

While these sit, I make sure all my containers are washed in warm, soapy water.  I use little square plastic containers with lids that I found in a 6-pack in the $1 row.  They are probably the size of an ice cube and a half.

And speaking of ice cubes. . .ice trays work just as well.  Make sure they are washed too.

When the herbs as essentially dry, I remove all leaves from the stems.  Leaves get tossed into the food processor.  Stems go in the compost bucket.  I don’t pack my leaves tightly otherwise all the ones on the bottom become mush, and the ones on top never gain access.

As they are spinning, I drizzle about 1 tablespoon of oil in with the herbs.  It keeps them from browning and helps them come out of the tray/container.  You can also use water if you prefer–I find that works better with Thai basil so it retains its distinctive flavor when I add to Thai recipes.

**Please note–do not ever soak herbs in olive oil and retain for long periods of time on the counter or in fridge.  That can lead to botulism as there is not enough acid in oil to kill those organisms.

Once your herbs are chopped, scoop into ice cube trays or containers and pack them down a bit with your finger tip.

Place in freezer until they become solid.

When they are completely frozen, they can be stored as such or popped out (by running a bit of warm water over the bottom) and kept in freezer bags or mason jar.

To use, just grab as many as you desire, and add to recipe.  Mmmmmm–a taste of summer all year long!

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