Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fresh Herbs.

Fresh frozen herbs. Oxymoron?!

While we were in Napa last week, my step-mom and I were talking as she made Thanksgiving dinner.  She and my Dad have a few citrus trees and herbs growing in their backyard and, since it's California, they thrive year-round.  As I came back in with a handful of fresh herbs for one of the recipes, I mentioned how I used to have a rosemary tree but it died and seeing their little garden made me miss having fresh herbs around.  And then whenever I buy a fresh bunch from the grocery store, I end up using only a small bit while the remainder of the herbs wither away in the refrigerator.  Maybe this is old news to you but my step-mom told me you can take the heartier herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano) and freeze them in olive oil in ice cube trays, taking them out and tossing them into a pan whenever your recipe calls for fresh herbs.  So simple.  So brilliant.  Here's how you do it:

Fresh frozen herbs in olive oil:
  • Bunch of fresh herbs
  • Olive oil
  • Ice cube trays
Wash and thoroughly dry herbs (I used thyme and rosemary).  Roughly chop and place into ice cube trays (I used these 2 tbs/30mL silicone trays... the same ones I use for freezing Alice's baby food!).  Fill with olive oil until the cube is 2/3 full.  Freeze for at least 12 hours.  Remove from tray and store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months.

I put my herbs in last night and jumped the gun to take photos of them this morning.  The rosemary in olive oil started to melt almost right away!  So, lesson learned.  Leave them in the freezer for more than just overnight.

I'm not sure this will work for herbs that are used fresh in a recipe (such as basil or cilantro) but you can make those herbs into pesto and then freeze them for later use.  And no more rotting herbs in the produce drawer a.k.a. the rot box!

Do you have any tips for keeping herbs fresh?  I recently heard a statistic on NPR that Americans throw away 40% of the food they buy, amounting to approximately $2,275 a year for a family of four.  So wasteful.  And so terrible!


  1. What an excellent idea. I'll have to try it out.

    Yes, I waste my herbs too. Which is sad. Sometimes you only need 4-5 leaves of sage or whatever, I put it back in the fridge thinking I'll find another recipe. Then promptly forget, then it turns into a science project or gets slimy. xoxo

  2. You can also dry rosemary. Just lay it out on the kitchen bench or table and wait a few days. Then you can pick off the leaves & put them in a jar. I did this the winter we were in Canada as the dried herbs were so expensive. For some strange reason it was cheaper to get fresh ones and dry the leftovers yourself.

  3. Yeah, remember how I killed your Rosemary plant? You left it in my untrained hands and I shortly thereafter killed it .... (really Grace, I can't keep a Rosemary plant alive!) Well, this year, my roomies and I had a garden and we planted some Rosemary and everything else is dead and withery (and we still haven't really winterized it, but haven't watered or anything for at least a month) except the Rosemary is like 3 feet tall and thriving! I must have been a terrible person to not keep yours alive!


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