How to Freeze Herbs and Stock Your Fall Freezer
October, 2014 · By Coryanne Ettiene
Oh how I love my freezer. Especially in the Fall when there is still plenty of fresh summer produce to choose from. This time of year my freezer is stocked with baking trays lined with parchment paper and any number of summer goodies from herbs, berries to ready made meal accents. I dare say, my freezer does look I am waiting for the world to end… but then again, when it comes to meal planning, or there lack there of, a full freezer is my best friend. The trick with freezing anything is that you need to keep the frost from sapping all the flavor, so plan your freezer attack carefully and be sure to date everything you store in your freezer with a nod towards knowing that in 3 months, anything that is left behind will loose all freshness.
- Parchment Paper
- Plastic Wrap
- Baking trays or cutting boards, anything with a flat surface to ensure your goods freeze evenly
- Freezer safe bags in a variety of sizes
- Ice cube trays
Tips and Tricks
- When freezing anything fresh like fruit, vegetables, or single herbs, lay them flat on a sheet of parchment paper so they have plenty of room to freeze without touching, and top them with another sheet of parchment paper to keep the burn off of them. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer safe bag for storage. When bundling herbs, tie them with a length of butchers twine, and make sure that you have a variety of sizes… after all different dishes call for different size bundles.
- When freezing with ice cube trays, take care of spills and wipe them clean before freezing. To avoid frosting your trays, seal them with plastic wrap or inside a freezer safe bag. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer safe bag for storage.
- When freezing oils, fat or wine remember that they will not freeze solid. Even a moment outside of the freezer will cause them to melt, so if you have a temperamental freezer, make sure that your freezer bag is sealed, double sealed, and sealed again.
- When freezing liquids and sauces place them inside a freezer safe bag, gently fold them over so that they lay flat and place them on a flat surface to freeze. Having them in stackable shapes will make storage simple and avoid cluttering your freezer.
- Label everything, both with what it is, and when you froze it. This helps avoid any cooking confusion and keeps your freezer stocked with items that taste as fresh as the day you froze them. A good rule of thumb for fresh ingredients is 3 months, and 4-6 months for sauces, soups and meals.
Looking for more ideas on what to freeze this Fall? This is what I currently have stock piled in my freezer in addition to the normal herbs, and summer produce items:
- Infused Oils: Freeze fresh herbs and olive oil, grape seed oil or coconut oil in ice cube trays, and use them as needed to create aromatic roasted vegetables, fabulous soups , or accent your roasting tray.
- Bacon Drippings: Freeze your bacon fat in ice cube trays or in measured amounts using freezer safe bags, and then add them to your gravy or roasting tray to give your roasts that added sizzle and flavor.
- Wine: If, on the odd occasion, you have left over wine, add it in measured amounts to a freezer safe bag and then use it to create fabulous sauces or post Thanksgiving stews. Or do what I do and buy a bottle and sacrifice to the freezer.
- Mash Potatoes: Save time prepping mid week meals by freezing your mash potatoes in a freezer safe container, and then reheat them in the oven prior to serving. This is a favorite trick of mine during Thanksgiving, oh how it saves so much oven space on the big day.
- Gravy: Roast chicken bones, vegetable scraps, onions and garlic in a pan, then add chicken stock to the mix to create a gravy base. Freeze it in a freezer safe bag, and then add it to your roasting pan to for easy gravy.
- Celery: Celery is a stock stable and essential for adding flavor to your roasting tray and left over soups — but it takes up so much room and never lasts as long as you wish it would. Wash, dry and then seal in an air tight freezer safe bag. Just drop your frozen celery into your roasting pan or stews as needed.
- Butter Cream Frosting: Keep the children happy with fresh butter cream cupcakes, by making a batch and freezing it an an air tight freezer safe container, and then thawing it. Once thawed, frost and serve with little to no effort.
- Pesto & Tomato Sauces: Storing your fresh pesto or tomato sauces in the freeze is a great way to whip up a summer inspired meal or add a spot of flavor to your Fall cooking. Store it in a freezer safe back in cup measurements for bigger meals, or in ice cube trays for a splash of flavor.
- Root Ginger: Skip breaking off just what you need from the grocery store and buy the whole root. Ginger freezes beautifully and what’s great about frozen ginger root is that is grates easier than thawed ginger root. Simply grate when you need, when you need it and return it to the freezer when your done.