The aromatic flavoring of fresh herbs can truly transform a dish. Over the years I have tried various methods of preserving fresh herbs to have throughout the winter. Some with very little success. What I have found to work time and again is freezing herbs in oil. The method is simple and if done correctly, works with fragile herbs like basil and cilantro.
Fragile Herbs: Basil & Cilantro – Make a Paste
Place one cup of packed herbs along with 1/3 cup olive oil in a food processor and blend until smooth. Using a ice cube tray, fill each segment with 1 tablespoon of your herb oil mix. Place it in the freezer. Remove the cubes from the tray and place them in a freezer safe bag/container for use anytime.
Hearty Herbs: Sage, Thyme, Rosemary & Oregano – Chop and Cover
Remove the leaves from the stems. Roughly chop the herbs and place one tablespoon of chopped herbs in each segment of the ice cube tray. Pour olive oil into each segment until the herbs are fully covered and freeze. For smaller leaf herbs like thyme and oregano you can keep the leaves whole.
Picking your medium
You can use any oil or fat to freeze your herbs but I recommend selecting ones that match how you will use the herbs in a recipe. For basil and cilantro try coconut oil and olive oil. For finishing herbs, like chives and parsley, try olive oil and unsalted butter.
Note: Parsley is one of the few herbs that freeze beautifully dry. Simple wash, dry and chop your parsley. Place it in an airtight container. When a recipe calls for parsley, simple scrape what you need from the top of the container. It’s always delicious and tastes incredibly fresh.