Wishing for a fresh sprig of mint in your winter tea? Craving fresh pesto on your favorite New Year’s pasta dish? Save summer magic and freeze your garden herbs to use all winter long.
There are three ways to freeze herbs:
1. Suspended in Ice
Mint leaves and lemon balm are wonderful when added to tea and cold summer drinks alike.
Remove leaves from the stem, rinse and add a leaf or two to each empty ice cube spot in a tray. Add enough water to cover, and freeze right away. Add cubes to hot tea – this is a sweet surprise and it cools off your tea.
Add them to drinks too – from iced tea to adult beverages – you’ll look like a pro. Sprigs of lavender left on the stem are fantastic frozen in long cubes (use a special ice tray).
2. On the Twig
That’s right! Bay, rosemary, thyme – these three herbs have stiff, slightly woody stems. Take long pieces, a size that fits in a freezer bag, lay them flat on a cookie sheet and freeze them. After six hours bag them. When it’s time to use some, pluck right from the stem. This is a no fuss method.
3. Create an Herb Pesto
A simple herb pesto can be made with a flavored or plain olive oil – this gives you a lot of flexibility later with different types of recipes. Or, if you know you will use it over pasta or as a condiment, you can add other ingredients such as roasted pine nuts or walnuts, parmesan, or garlic. You can make a pesto from basil, chives, sage, oregano, cilantro and even spinach.
Use a food processor – the mixture should be thick, but not chunky. Spoon it into ice cube trays, let it freeze for at least 12 hours then pop them into a large freezer bag with room to add multiple batches. Your very own fresh pesto in the middle of winter is hard to beat. This is an easy solution to an impromptu gathering or a go-to family meal.
Enjoy the taste of summer all winter long!