6 ways to preserve herbs for year-round flavour
The options are endless when it comes to preserving herbs.
Words: Nadene Hall
1. Free flow
Leafy summer herbs such as parsley, basil, coriander, and chives frozen this way will last 1-2 months.
Wash herbs, shake dry, strip leaves off stems, and chop. Spread onto a baking paper-lined oven tray and freeze overnight. Store in the freezer in sealed containers.
2. Herb butter logs
Wash a herb or herb mix, then pat dry. Mix into softened butter at a ratio of 1-part herbs to 2 parts butter.
Pulse in a food processor until leaves are the consistency you desire. Shape into a log, wrap in waxed paper. To use, slice off a segment as needed, will last 6-9 months.
3. As pesto
Use herbs – not just basil – to make pesto, then freeze in ice cube trays in 1-2 tbsp amounts. Use within 6 months.
4. As ice cubes
This method will keep the flavour in frozen herbs for up to 12 months. Wash herbs, shake dry, strip leaves off stems, and chop.
Add 1 tbsp of chopped herbs to each segment of an ice cube tray (or a larger measure in a muffin tray). Fill each segment with water to the halfway mark.
Freeze overnight, then add more water to fill each slot, and freeze again – this step prevents freezer burn. Remove cubes, put in a storage container, and store in the freezer.
5. As a log
These are similar but don’t use butter, so only last 2 months or so. Wash, remove stalks, then pat dry or use a salad spinner.
Tip onto a sheet of waxed paper or tinfoil, roll into a tight log shape until air-free, then seal the ends with rubber bands. Freeze. To use, slice off a segment as needed.
6. In oil
Retains flavour, and will last 6-9 months. Mix 2 cups of herbs to ⅓ cup of light olive oil. Then, pulse in a food processor until it forms a paste.
Pour set amounts, eg 2 tbsp, into ice cube or mini muffin trays, then freeze.