Fresh are easily available in your garden during the summer and you could easily pick out any herb you want to use in the kitchen or elsewhere by simply stepping out of the house. But finding fresh herbs during the winter season becomes a difficult task and even if you do get your hands on some refrigerated herbs, all you see is some brown and decayed form of a once aromatic plant.
Freezing can not only prove to be useful for your average tomato soup, pesto and puree, but it can also help you preserve some delicate herbs. Freezing herbs in oil can help save them from getting burned by the freezer along with reduced browning. These preserved herbs are ideal for the stews, potato dishes, roasts, and soups that you make all through the winter season.
Dishes like roasts and stews etc. usually require the use of oil as a base and readily available freezer herb oil can help you start up the cooking process much sooner with the essence of these herbs already being encapsulated in oil. Use this herb filled oil for cooking garlic and some onions and watch the oil work its aromatic magic throughout the dish.
Hard herbs like oregano, rosemary, thyme and sage are cooked prior to addition in the dish and therefore, the oiling and freezing method works the best. Soft herbs like dill, lemon verbena, mint and basil tend to lose their freshness sitting inside the freezer, except for the basil pesto which is homemade.
Some people prefer freezing these delicate herbs in bags, but the problem with freezing these herbs by means of or without oil is that they tend to become dull and lose flavor over time. Adding these herbs to your dishes will just make them taste weird instead of scrumptious.
Method of Freezing
By freezing hard herbs in oil, you also get an advantage of having an essence filled oil mixture at hand. Following are the steps you should take for obtaining your cubes of herb oil.
- Try selecting fresh and firm herbs when shopping from the market or picking herbs at home.
- You could either finely chop up these herbs or freeze them in their original form like sprigs and grass, according to your needs.
- Fill in about two thirds of the slots in an ice cube tray.
- The herbs can also be mixed up for creating a bouquet garni with thyme, rosemary and sage. This bouquet can be used for making roast potatoes and chicken in the winters.
- Pour some melted unsalted butter or extra-virgin quality olive oil over the herbs.
- Carefully wrap up the ice trays with plastic and leave them to freeze overnight.
- Take out the overnight frozen cubes and transfer them into in to small bags or freezer containers.
Lastly, make sure that you have labeled all the containers and bags before freezing because if you don’t, you’ll have a tough time figuring out which is what.