Welcome to how do you freeze fresh herbs.
This is something that has been long over due on Recipe This and comes as part of something that I am very passionate about and that is reducing food waste.
Food waste is a huge problem around the world and it is often being highlighted on a huge number of cookery shows. I think it is something that you don’t appreciate until you have done it yourself and personally wasted money on food that has ended up in the rubbish bin.
We used to do our weekly grocery shopping at Walmart between 2006 and 2008. We were also the fattest we had ever been then too so we enjoyed a life of takeaways and meals at Pizza Hut. But we still did the weekly shopping as if we were not having takeaways. We would spend on average about £100 as a family of three and now as a family of four ten years later we spend 35% less and waste nothing.
We would probably have a takeaway 4-5 times a week so 5 days worth of food would end up in the bin. I was never a big eater so it wasn’t like I was bulking up on breakfast and lunch because I wasn’t.
As I recall our biggest food waste areas were:
- Sliced bread
- Chicken breast
- Fresh fruit
- Fresh vegetables
- Fresh herbs
Though as Dominic points out we never ever wasted any cheese or chocolate!
We have probably reduced our food waste from 60% of what we were buying down to about 5%. Plus this is without trying over the last few years. Occasionally we end up getting really upset that we have wasted something because it has gone mouldy, but all in all we were pretty impressed.
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But take away the chicken breasts I am sure those wasted food items are on most peoples lists of the things that they waste the most. Eggs get bought and if you don’t eat them everyday they suddenly go passed their best before and they end up in the bin. Salad can often be used once a week and then with so much leftover ends up looking disgusting in the bottom of the fridge and don’t get me started about the fruit bowl.
But the best thing is that they can all be used for various items and there is no need for food waste. But what brings me to this blog post is the area of food waste that I have never been able to accomplish and that is the fresh herbs.
In Portugal it gets incredibly hot in the summer so whenever I go to grow my own fresh herbs I always end up killing them, so I kind of gave up on that a long time ago. I plan to have another go next year now that we have a house with shade, but until then I love my fresh herbs. Though, I must confess to giving priority to dried herbs as I just don’t want to waste any.
But what if you want fresh herbs and you don’t want food herbs? Well this is when the time comes when you should look at freezing your leftovers and then using them as you need them.
I also find from a frugal point of view that the best price for fresh herbs and spices is always from buying the plant and with those unless you are on a cooking marathon there is no way you could use them all before they go off.
Thanks to Sikilomart and their terracotta moulds I have put this to the test to see what the best ways are to do it. So this is what happened when I put it to the test……
How Do You Freeze Fresh Herbs?
I have a three step plan when it comes to freezing fresh herbs. This is because as Dominic says I always have a plan for a plan and this certainly applies to my fresh herbs!
#1 – Let your fresh herbs have a purpose
Firstly I always buy fresh herbs when I have it pre-planned for a specific recipe. That means that at least one recipe is being used with the fresh herbs and then it feels like you are getting that amazing meal featuring fresh herbs and that they aren’t all in the freezer.
Last week for this experiment we made Easy Courgette Chips With Tzatziki Dip and it was great that we could make the Tzatziki dip using fresh mint that we had bought the same day from the supermarket.
The recipe went really well and the taste of the fresh mint with the cucumber and the Greek yoghurt was absolutely amazing.
#2 – Freeze the rest
What you have to think of is that fresh herbs that get frozen do so best when they have been frozen when they are in their best condition. So the day after you’ve used them for your chosen dish(es) you need to add them to your freezer.
There are of course several ways to go about it and we all seem to have a different way of doing it.
The two ways that is the most popular are:
Removed from stems and placed in a liquid – This is my favourite because you could have them in olive oil, butter, water, coconut oil or even in their pre-planned cooking juices. The first time I ever read up on freezing herbs is was fresh parsley mixed with garlic butter to produce the perfect cooking seasoning for meat. Though I have personally done mine in water just like I would with lettuce in the fridge that way I can use them for whatever recipes I like and then I am not limited on choice.
Turned into stock – this is a new and modern way of doing things and is very clever. Basically grab your fresh basil and blend it with some butter or olive oil and with some other seasoning and then place directly into ice cube trays.
#3 – Get it out as you need it
Once it is frozen you can just use it as you need to. The next time you want that lovely flavour of fresh herbs in your cooking then get a cube or two out of the freezer and enjoy your fresh herbs.
Then grab more fresh herbs when you’re grocery shopping either when you run out or when they are on offer. As they can be quite expensive when there is a sale on, they can make the perfect frugal purchase.
We used the Sikilomart terracotta moulds as an alternative to ice cube trays. This is because they are really deep and are perfect for holding frozen fresh herbs. They are also easy to get your herbs in and out with.
Also because they are so deep you can use just one container for the use of all your fresh herbs rather than having loads of ice cube trays in use. You can find out more and buy it by clicking here.