I’ve already discussed the main ways that you all can keep your harvest fresh for months to come but another product of your farm that I haven’t talked about is your herbs. I don’t give them much thought considering most of them grow so fast, but I still think that a proper preservation method should be available to everyone.
Even though it would be magical if you could simply store every kind of herb that comes your way, it’s not really possible. Even if you could do it, it’s impossible to retain the flavor and taste of soft herbs, such as mint and basil, if they’re frozen because they taste best when added fresh. Luckily, you can preserve most hard herbs by freezing them in oil.
If you’re wondering why you can’t just freeze the herbs as they are, it’s due to the burn and loss of flavor that it can cause. Plus, herbs are most commonly used in dishes like soups, roasts, and stews during the winter months, when you can’t really grow them in your garden.
With these dishes, you always need some oil to begin with, so having herb-infused oil to cook vegetables and meat lets the flavor fuse into every ingredient that you use. Now, here’s how you can freeze herbs such as oregano, sage, rosemary, and thyme, in oil.
You’ll need to start by using the freshest herbs available so make sure to use ones that are freshly-picked from your garden. Clean the herbs thoroughly to remove any dirt and then place them on a towel so they dry indoors. Take the herbs and chop them finely if you prefer to. This can help the flavor fuse with the oil better but not to such a great extent. So if you prefer, you can freeze them in leaves with a bit of stem. Or, you can freeze a mix of whole and chopped herbs.
Take an ice cube tray and make sure that it comes with a cover so that it keeps the smell from affecting other items in your freezer. Place herbs in each division and fill them to about two-thirds of the height. Pour oil of your choice, such as olive oil, the extra virgin kind, or neutral canola oil. If you don’t have oil at hand or plan on cooking other kinds of dishes that don’t make use of oil, you can melt unsalted butter and pour it over the herbs. If you don’t have a cover for the frozen herbs, you can cover it with a layer of cling wrap and place the tray in the freezer for the night.
The next day, remove your cubes of oil and herbs and place them in plastic bags. Remember to label what herbs and oil were used on each Ziploc bag, and don’t store them all together to prevent smells and tastes from mixing. This is how you can preserve your hard herbs over the winter. Simply remove as many cubes as needed, and add them to your pan for an instant burst of flavor to your meal. You’re welcome. Happy Farming!