Recipe activity: Freezing soft herbs
Just like with overgrown or excess salad leaves, freezing herbs is a great way to store them for cooking later. They behave just like fresh herbs in cooking, unlike dried herbs which require a longer cooking time and have an altered flavour.
Of course, defrosted herbs will have a soggy texture if you use them in things like salads due to the cell damage caused by freezing- but this won't matter in cooking, as cooking makes pretty much the same thing happen.
Herbs this is particularly useful for are any of those with soft leaves- which tend to be the ones which have a short season and don't dry so well anyway. This includes chives (pictured), parsley, coriander, mint and, our favourite freezing herb, basil.
Freezing is particularly useful if you only get a handful of the herb from your plants at a time (this is why we like it for basil!): You can simply add the leaves to a freezer bag and crush them down as they're frozen, taking up very little freezer space for lots of ready-prepared herbs.
Harvest herbs for freezing in dry weather.
Pick out any brown or damaged leaves from your herbs- and remove any insects.
Chop the leaves if you want (I would chop chives before freezing as they don't crush very well when frozen- everything else I just give a quick squish after they're frozen).
Place dry herb leaves on a tray or in a bag.
Label the bag!- crushed herbs all pretty much look the same and frozen foods don't really smell to help you identify them... If you're going to keep topping up the bag, just put the year rather than the exact date onto it.
Put in freezer.
The reason for using dry herbs is so that the leaves don't all stick together in a claggy lump as they freeze- it's a question of being easily able to use the amount you want later on.
Some people recommend filling ice cube trays with herbs then topping up with water- so if you are desperate to freeze herbs when wet, this is a good method to ensure you don't end up with one enormous unusable herb cube.