The Easiest Way to Preserve Herbs

The Easiest Way to Preserve Herbs. Really. Try this technique and you'll be enjoying herbs year round without a lot of fuss.

It’s summer.  That means gardens and CSAs.

And for us, right now, that means lots of fresh herbs.  Basil.  Parsley.  Dill…

Are you wondering what to do with all of it?

Actually, for that reason, I almost never bought fresh herbs, mostly because I didn’t know what to do with the leftovers!

Two years ago when we got a whole bunch of parsley and basil, I just dried everything and it worked great.  But this year, I thought that I sure would like to have some fresh-tasting herbs throughout the year, so I got down to figuring out how to preserve them without drying.  And what I found was remarkably easy and worked out great!

First of all, let me say that of course, you can choose to either dehydrate or freeze your leftover herbs (canning doesn’t work that well :-)).  Now, I love my dehydrator, and I love dried herbs, but here are some things to think about on both sides of the coin:

Freezing versus Dehydrating Herbs

1.  Freezing will give you more of a fresh flavor to your herbs

2.  Freezing herbs is simpler than drying

3.  Dehydrating doesn’t work for all herbs (cilantro does not dry well.  See my post on 6 Super Tips for Cilantro for more info on this great herb!)

4. Of course, dehydrated foods take up less room and you will not take up freezer space with the herbs if your space is limited.

5.  There are cost differences.  See my post on Which Saves Most – Dehydrating, Canning, or Freezing?

Now, there is quite a bit of information out there about freezing herbs, with three main techniques that seem to be the mainstays.

They consisted of:

- freezing in single layers
– freezing chopped herbs in ice cube trays
, and
- freezing herbs with oil as a preparation for making pesto.

All of them were too much work for me. I know–it sounds like I am just lazy, but really it’s just that I have too much going on and need to cut corners somewhere.

So I ended up trying something easy, doable and workable — and it worked!

‘Cause that’s what I need.  Less fuss.  Like my post this past week on The Easiest Way to Peel Garlic.

Get the job done so that I can get onto something else more meaningful.  Like my family, the Word, serving others.

For More Related Information:

- Check out my post on cilantro, as I recommended above.

- For more on food preservation, read my dehydrating series, starting with Saving Money by Dehydrating.  You’ll learn how to save lots of money!

- Again, to read about all of the food preservation methods, read my post on Which Saves Most, Dehydrating, Canning, or Freezing?

- I am going to be posting about more dehydrating ideas in the near future.  So subscribe to my free email newsletter or RSS reader feed so that you don’t miss anything!

{Top Photo Credit}

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  1. Thank you. I am going to try this with my abundance of basil and also of lemon balm. Will have to use Ziplock bags, though. Hope they’ll work. :)

  2. Wow, looks like an amazing harvest!

  3. Great tips on saving all the extra herbs! I planned on freezing some basil, but we seem to eat it as fast as it grows. Sigh…maybe next year! Thanks for linking up with Made From Scratch Tuesday!

  4. I didn’t realize you could freeze herbs like this! I have an abundance of basil and hated to see it go to waste, and I can only eat so much pesto!

  5. I love how you try to find the easiest way to do things! I tried your garlic skin trick last week (during a raw foods class I was teaching, in fact!) and it was great (everyone was impressed). It’s super how you don’t assume the easiest method has already been found!

  6. Thanks for sharing! This will come in handy :)

  7. Great tips, Thanks for sharing! I will definitely use this!

  8. Love your tips. I think I’ll give this one a try.

  9. Thanks for sharing your tips! I usually freeze my basil, but nothing else.
    -Lynn

  10. Again, I learn so much from you! :) I’m going to do this with my stevia plants that I’ve dried.

  11. Looks quick and easy, Adrienne! I’ll give it a try – thanks!

  12. What a great idea! I thought I would have to freeze them in cubes. This sounds so much easier!!

    • I couldn’t really deal with the extra ice cube tray work either. I once froze chopped greens in them and boy-oh-boy were they a pain to clean! No more of that :-).

  13. Visiting from Tasty Tuesday … looks like a great way to preserve herbs! Thanks for the good advice.

  14. I would have never thought of using my dehydrator tray for freezing. Thanks for the tip!

  15. Happier Than A Pig in Mud says:

    My Aunt always said to freeze parsley, I’ll give this a try-thanks:@)

  16. I also freeze my herbs. I have dried a few, but I like the flavor from the frozen ones best. I really like your drying board.

  17. Great tips. Hope to get some herbs in the freezer later today!

  18. Great idea freezing them like this. I have only ever heard of the ice cube method, and never thought that was very practical.

  19. Thanks for linking this up to Friday Potluck! This is a great post – with everything else that I freeze, I’ve never considered freezing herbs. Thank you! :)

  20. Thanks for posting this. My husband is a gardener and we have herbs hanging all over the house this time of year!

  21. This is fantastic… thank you!! I am going to try freezing my now instead :)

  22. That is FANTASTIC! I didn’t know you could freeze herbs! This will save me a TON of money! BRILLIANT!

    Thanks for linking up and playing at our Friday Food Fight! :-)

  23. I’ve never dried herbs on a large scale…only small stuff. Love the full coverage of all the details you have here.

    Great post and thanks for sharing at the hearth and soul hop.

  24. This is SO awesome! Thank you for posting this! I’ve always wanted to grow herbs, but never managed to get them stored / saved because I didn’t invest in a dehydrator (don’t have room for one). This is something I could EASILY do and I love how simple the process is! Thank you for sharing this at WFMW!!!

    • Debbie….Just an FYI -I have mine on a small telephone table in my pantry and a fellow blogger I know has hers in the basement next to her washing machine :-)! Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

  25. Hi Adrienne,
    This is a great idea and much easier than some of “our old way” of drying herbs. I am sure going to give this a try as I have an abundance of herbs just now. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you again real soon! Hope you are having a great week end.
    Miz Helen

  26. These are great tips! I do prefer the flavor of frozen herbs vs. dried as it’s so much closer to fresh. Thanks for submitting this to WW this week! :)

  27. this is great, thanks for sharing with the Hearth n soul hop!

  28. First time here via the barnhop!
    What great tips! Thanks so much :-)
    Lusi

  29. As always – very informative. Thank you for linking up.

  30. Great idea! Do you notice any difference in the taste of the herbs because of letting them sit overnight? Just wondering since this is kinda like a mixture between drying and freezing. I’ve got lots of parsley and basil that I need to try this technique on!

    • I don’t think that there was any difference. You really don’t need to have them dry overnight. Just until they aren’t wet anymore so that you avoid ice crystals on them. I ended up leaving them out overnight just because I was busy and didn’t get to washing the herbs until late at night and I didn’t feel like drying them with a towel :-)!

  31. Great tips for freezing herbs. I love learning easy ways to preserve the things we are growing in the garden…

  32. Great tips! I froze basil last year and it worked really well. Looking forward to adding to my stock this year.

  33. Thanks–I have a bumper crop of basil and wondered what to do with it.

  34. Thanks so much for sharing your recipes with me at Cast Party Wednesday. I hope you will come back tomorrow for another party filled with GREAT RECIPES!
    Thanks,
    I hope to see you there!

  35. All I can say is Thank You. I’ve been dealing with the too many herbs problem too! Thanks for sharing at this week’s Sugar Free Sunday!

  36. This is such a wonderful post, with excellent advice! Thank you for sharing it with Feed Me Tweet Me Follow Me Home. Watch out for some interesting news at Feed Me Tweet Me later on today!

  37. Thanks so much for the great information! Very good advice. I would be honored if you would link up to my Commercial Break Thursday.

    suzy

  38. homemade and green says:

    I so needed this post today last night our CSA bag had lots of herbs and we can’t eat all of them in time! thanks!!!

    homemade and green

  39. Great information! :) Thanks for sharing! :)

    ~ Kathy

  40. Yes, its a GREAT way to have “fresh” herbs in winter. I do this with all my cooking herbs but it just dawned on me I can to this with my COMFREY! I usually hang it to dry and really miss my fresh comfrey in the winter. Thanks for the epiphany.;0)

  41. Great idea! I think our herbs may continue to grow throughout the year (as long as we don’t get a rare freeze, but if they start to wain, I will be trying your method.

  42. Love this! I will have to try — it’s so simple… you’re right! I’ve minced and mixed with olive oil before freezing before, but never have done something so simple. :)

    Hopping over from SalmonAtSeven.com via Foodie Friday – I’d love it if you hopped on back. xoxo

  43. Great post! I’ve always wondered how to dry my herbs. This is one of the best explained descriptions I’ve read! Thank you.

  44. This tip was a huge hit at Fit and Fabulous Fridays this weekend! I made you a fit feature this week. :) Great idea!!

  45. Adrienne, these are great tips for preserving our herbs. Hope you have a fantastic week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  46. I am just getting started with growing herbs and this is a great tip. I’ve been stressing a bit on what to do with them. Thanks!

  47. Thanks for the tips. I’ve been wondering what was a successful way of freezing herbs.

  48. Thanks for the great info!! Found you on Tip Me Tuesday.

  49. This is such a great post, we just blogged about it. It’s interesting that the most expensive way to preserve turns out to be the cheapest in terms of TIME when it comes to herbs. Have a great day! Emmon

  50. What an easy way to preserve fresh herbs – thank you for sharing this really helpful post!

  51. Such a great and helpful post. I just recently dried a bunch of herbs but I need to get ready to do some more preserving soon! :) Please come share this at our link party – “Home is Where the Heart is” Homesteading and Homemaking http://www.homesteadsimple.com/home-is-where-the-heart-is-link-it-up-wednesdays-2/
    Please feel free to link any other posts you’d like to share!

  52. Congratulations!
    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you have a great summer week end and enjoy your new Red Plate.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  53. I love this post! So much good information!

  54. Boy do I need this idea! My garden is exploding with herbs, and I can never use them all. I’m hosting a linky party “One Creative Weekend” at OneCreativeMommy.com. I’d love for you to visit and link up this idea and/or anything else you’d like to share.

  55. Good tip. Thank you for sharing it.

  56. Thanks for sharing these great tips!

  57. Very nice idea, thanks for sharing with Hearth and Soul blog hop.

  58. I will definitely do that this year. When I dried my herbs last year they were NOT yummy :)

  59. I let mine dry well and then place them kind of in single layer on paper towel then fold up the paper towel and place into the bag and take out as much air as possible. This helps with taking a little out at a time and also with moisture that can build up in the bag.

  60. That is good information to know. I have grown alot of herbs this year and was wondering what to do with them all!

    Also, I just buy a package of clothes pin. They’re cheap and that’s what I use to close all of the bags for storage.

  61. I am doing it for years, I am also freezing washed and finely cut parsley and dill, which I add to everything. I freeze it in zip locks.
    Lemon balm makes a therapeutic calming tea the best before bed. :)

  62. deanna pucci says:

    So…Do you dry the basil first before bagging?