This post is an excerpt from the Using Culinary Herbs Workshop.
If you're lucky enough to have too many herbs from the garden or market, then freezing is a simple method to store them for use year-round.
The best herbs to freeze are ones with tender leaves. Herbs with tough leaves are better dried. Here are examples of good herbs to freeze: basil, chives, dill, parsley, mints, chervil, marjoram, fennel, and tarragon.
Freezing herbs preserves their flavour but not their texture, so expect the herbs to be soft when they thaw. Frozen herbs are best used in cooked dishes, particularly sauces and soups, or in blended dips or cold sauces where they can add flavour but their consistency is less noticeable. Also, ice cubes made with frozen herbs can be a nice addition to cold drinks.
The following method works for freezing fresh herbs or pesto:
Step 1: Clean and dry herbs well before freezing.
Step 2: Remove the herb leaves from their stems by stripping the leaves from the top to the bottom of the stem.
Step 3: Depending on how big you prefer pieces to be you can either mince the fresh herb leaves up or leave them whole. This is the point where you would make the herbs into pesto if that is what you are freezing. If you tend to use a group of herbs together often when cooking then you can freeze those herbs together in a mixture.
Step 4: Fill either ice cube trays or silicon muffin trays with the herbs or pesto, almost to the top of each cell.
Step 5: (Omit this step if freezing pesto): Pour a bit of water or cooking oil in with the herbs to top up the cells of the trays.
Step 6: Freeze the herbs or pesto in the trays.
Step 7: Once fully frozen, pop out the herb or pesto cubes and store them in a food safe re-sealable bag or container in the freezer. Label the container with the date and herb name(s).
Step 8: Use the individually frozen blocks of herbs by dropping them into sauces, soups or other dishes, or as ice cubes in cold drinks.