The Easiest Way to Preserve Herbs

wooden garden box with herbs growing in it for post on how to preserve herbs

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

Here are some of the differences between freezing and dehydrating herbs.

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

2.  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!)

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

4.  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 other things!

More Food Preservation Posts

You might also want to check out these posts for other ways to preserve your bounty....

wooden garden box with herbs growing in it for post on how to preserve herbs

How to Freeze Herbs

Try this quick and easy way to freeze your herbs and easily chop up or break off whatever you need for a recipe. 
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Drying Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • parsley
  • basil

Instructions

  • Wash herbs.
  • Pat dry.
  • Leave out overnight to dry completely (You can dry the herbs on any flat surface, but one with ventilation will work best.   A cooling rack would be a good option.  I used the trays from my Excalibur Dehydrator.  See, you can even use your dehydrator to freeze herbs!
  • Parsley
    Dehydrating Parsley
  • Basil
    How to Dehydrate Basil - Excalibur Dehydrator
  • Place in plastic bags and take out as much air as possible. (You can even stick a straw in the bag to suck the air out if you like. I have not done that yet, however :-). I use small plastic bags from Country Life Natural Foods and they are great. I get the 4x2x8 size. They come in various sizes and in serious bulk so you can store away for cheap! These on Amazon appear to be the same. A MUST, however, for this, in my mind, is Twixit Clips. I use these for EVERYTHING in my home. Trust me, you will be so thrilled to be done with those pesky twist ties.
    Use and Store Cilantro | Cilantro and Coriander

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.

That's it!  Quick and easy.   And really, I don't see the need for freezing in single layers like berries.  My herbs come out of the bags easily and I can simply chop up or break off whatever amount I need for a recipe.  In fact, I don't think it makes sense to freeze in cubes.  If you end up needing half a cube, then trying to chop one of those would not be something that I would look forward to doing!

Don't Have a Dehydrator?

I know that not all of you have one. Obviously, for this technique, you don't need the whole machine--just the trays. You could buy some circular trays here and have a handy dandy herb dehydrating system on the cheap!

Of course, with all of the great things you can do with a dehydrator, I HIGHLY recommend one--they are coming out with all kinds of new designs too. So many great ones to choose from. You can check them all out here.

Do you grow your own herbs?

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97 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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 Please feel free to link any other posts you'd like to share!

  6. 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

  7. 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!

  8. 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

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

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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

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