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Preserving Fresh Herbs

Do you have an abundant crop of herbs already? Consider freezing them so you can still have fresh herbs even when they are no longer in season.

Here are four easy methods:

The Drying Method

An easy way to preserve your herbs.

  1. Collect small batches of your herbs, before they begin to flower.
  2. Hold them upside-down, stems up, and place leaf portion in a paper bag (lunch bag size).
  3. Take a rubber band and place it around the opening of the bag around the stems.
  4. Punch a few holes in the sides of the bag so air can flow through and prevent them from becoming moldy.

As they dry, the leaves and seeds will drop into the bottom of each bag which you can use. You can test your herbs by doing the crumble test, rubbing the leaves between your fingers to see if they crumble easily, usually after a week.

The Cookie Sheet Method

Perfect for having “fresh” herbs at a later date.

  1. Cut herbs, wash, and allow to air-dry fully.
  2. Spread herbs evenly in a single layer over parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
  3. Place herbs in the freezer for one hour.
  4. Quickly transfer herbs into marked freezer bags, removing as much air as possible, and return sealed bags to the freezer.
  5. When herbs are needed, simply remove the desired quantity and return the bag to the freezer. Do not let herbs thaw between uses or they will “clump” instead of staying individual springs and leaves.

The Ice Cube Method

Good for herbs needed in soups and casseroles.

  1. Cut herbs, wash, and allow to air dry-fully.
  2. Fill ice cube trays with desired herbs. Carefully fill trays ¾ full with water or chicken broth. Freeze.
  3. Transfer the frozen cubes into freezer bags and remember to write the herb variety on the freezer bag. Use cubes when needed.

The Butter Method

A tasty solution for herbs in sauces, stuffing, or soups.

  1. Cut herbs, wash, and allow to air-dry fully.
  2. Soften butter at room temperature (one stick of butter should yield eight cubes in an ice cube tray.)
  3. Add herb mixture to the butter and mix.
  4. Spoon one tablespoon of butter/herb mix into each individual square in an ice cube tray and freeze. Use when needed.

Tip: Use frozen tarragon for béarnaise sauce; parsley for chicken soups and stuffing; rosemary for pork roasts in the crockpot; and any combination of oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram and basil for Italian sauces.

When planting and feeding your herbs, remember to plant them using an organic plant starter and feed them with an all-purpose plant food for the best results.

Herb Garden
Drying Herbs