More About Freezing Fresh Herbs: Freezing Thai Basil, Sage, Tarragon, and Mint
From Thai Basil Plants Out of Control
To Frozen Thai Basil Cubes!
What would you do if you had an enormous patch of Thai Basil like this that was seriously going to seed, not to mention lots of other fabulously bushy herb plants, and you lived in Utah where winter was well on the way? I’ve been freezing fresh basil
for many years with good results, and last year I made a wonderful discovery when I was freezing fresh thyme and fresh rosemary
. So when I realized this past weekend that summer was going to end well before I ran out of fresh herbs, I decided to try some other freezing experiments.
The verdict is still out as far as the usefulness of frozen Thai Basil but all these herbs appear to have frozen with good results. Here are some tips you might like to try if it’s getting cold where you are and you have a garden with herbs that you’d enjoy using during the winter.
I used the same process for tarragon, mint, and sage, except I did use my garden scissors to cut the sage from the stems, which was easy to do. Since I’d learned last year when I tried freezing thyme and rosemary
that the leaves of those herbs mostly fell off the stems when they were frozen, I decided not to spend the time stripping off the tarragon and mint leaves. For each of these herbs, I cut as much as I thought would fit into a large Ziploc bag and washed it well in my large salad spinner.
When they were spun dry, I put the herbs into the Ziploc bags. Then I left the bags open and let them sit on the counter for several hours, until the moisture left on the leaves had evaporated. (If it’s humid where you are this will take longer. If you’re sharp-eyed, there is some rosemary in that photo too, but I’ve already written about freezing rosemary
Then I sealed the bags, squeezing most of the air out, and put them in the freezer. Leave them for a few days or even weeks, depending on the type of herb.
After that time, the leaves will start to fall off the stems. This is a bowl of frozen tarragon after four days in the freezer, and you can see the bare stems where the leaves have fallen off. There were only a few stubborn leaves I had to pick off.
Not a very good photo because I took it at night, but here are the jars of frozen sage and tarragon leaves I ended up with. Each is slightly smaller than a mayonnaise jar, plenty of sage and tarragon for a lot of good dishes all winter long. Put the jars back in the freezer, then take out the frozen herbs as you need them. (The mint leaves are taking a bit longer to fall off the stems so I’m leaving them in the freezer a bit longer, but the frozen mint is also working out well.)
Freezing the Thai Basil was a slightly different process. I had a huge sink full of basil, and since the basil was pretty dirty, I washed it several times in the salad spinner, then spun it dry.
Fill the food processor with basil leaves, quite full, but not so full that it won’t all chop. As the basil chops, drizzle in a small amount of olive oil or vegetable oil, just enough to coat the leaves so they don’t turn dark in the freezer. You might need to stir once or twice to get the top leaves chopped up.
After 30-45 seconds, here’s how the basil will look when it’s all been chopped and it’s well coated with oil.
I didn’t think I would use very much Thai Basil at a time, so I froze it in an ice cube tray, which I sprayed with non-stick spray before I put the basil in. Freeze it until the basil cubes are frozen hard, then remove and store in Ziploc bag or freezer jar with a tight fitting lid.
I put my basil into a bag which I sealed with my FoodSaver, one of my very favorite kitchen gadgets. This basil will stay good in the freezer for months and months. I did stop and consider part way through this process that Thai Basil is often eaten raw, but I found a few ideas for things where Thai Basil is added to a cooked dish that I thought might work with the frozen basil.
Thai Basil Fried Rice from Is It EDible
Thai Basil Pork from Is It EDible
Thai Style Chile Beef from Nook and Pantry
Thai Basil Hummus from 28 Cooks
Golden Gazpacho with Lemongrass from What Did You Eat
Red Hot Thai Curry with Basil from Saffron Trail
Thai Green Coconut Curry with Chicken from Kirsten’s Home Cooking
Of course you figured out that this is my post for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Ulrike of Kuchenlatein this week.
If anyone has other freezing methods for herbs that they’ve found useful, or ideas for using frozen Thai Basil or mint, please let me know about it in the comments. Happy freezing everyone!