Freezing herbs

As I finished up my manuscript for the kitchen book a few months ago, I stumbled upon some freezing research I needed to do. I came across this post from the kitchn, and know all-too-well my freezer management system just isn’t tight enough to prevent this from being a total (and expensive) waste. I can just see the freezer burned, ancient EVOO-bound herbs in a mystery baggie crammed in the back of the freezer; there’s probably one back there now. I then popped over to their suggestion of gardener Margaret Roach’s method.

I modified Margaret’s technique to suit our needs a bit better. Instead of using her log o’ parsley method, I froze hard packed ‘cubes’ of parsley using my two identical sized mini muffin tins. I invite you to improvise with whatever snug fitting equipment you have, though keep in mind you’ll need to be able to cram the entire operation into your largest size freezer storage bag.

Step 1: Whatever method of preserving herbs you choose, you’ll need to separate leaf from stem. Deposit stems in your stockpot (or freezer bag of stock scraps).

Step 2: Assess how much parsley you can cram in your tin slots and remember that more is better because you’ll have better luck twisting and wedging the herbs in the cups.

Do not stress if and when the herbs pop right out after you press them in. Here’s what my tin looked like upon filling all the slots.

Step 3: Grab your top tin and do your best to shove back any egregiously puffed out herb cups. This can be tricky and futile since it’s hard to simultaneously press down each cup. So don’t worry about it too much. It’s not the end of the world if some of the herbs get frozen in the in-between zone.

Step 4: Insert operation into good freezer storage bag and suck out all the air. Freeze until solid, which should take a few days, at which point remove top tin and pop the ‘cubes’ out with a butter knife. Store cubes in your freezer bag.

I intended to remove these just after they’d frozen solid, alas, I got busy and forgot about them. Months later when I discovered the neglected tin, I proceeded to pop them out as described above and everything was just fine. I used a cube last week in a soup and was pleased with the zingy parsley flavor imparted by my frozen herb cube.