I love the idea of cooking with fresh herbs. The pungent flavors, the rich color of the fresh green leaves, the aroma that fills the air, nothing beats it. But if you’ve ever bought a big bunch of fresh parsley and left it untouched for a couple days only to find it wilted and mushy, or tried to save basil after not using all of it, you understand my frustration.
This summer I grew herbs — as it turns out, a whole lot more than I could actually use — so I was determined to find a way to preserve them so I could enjoy the abundance of my crop. While drying herbs is a great way to extend their shelf life, I prefer the flavors of fresh herbs. With the fall season coming, I thought it’d be a great time to share with you a hack I learned for preserving the crisp flavor of your herbs while boosting their nutritional power. You can can amplify any recipe, by freezing your herbs in butter or oil.
You might be thinking, why not just freeze the herb itself? And well, you could, but the moisture could cause leaves to stick together and wilt, making them harder to cook with. What’s more, freezing them in high-quality butter or oil is a great way to increase your healthy fat intake, (I’m talking to you, keto dieters!) which has been linked to many health benefits like lowering inflammation. Healthy weeknight cooking just got a whole lot easier!
Another benefit of this hack: it makes meal prep a breeze because you’re creating single servings of herb seasoning that you can plop into any meal for an added boost of flavor — no more weeknight chopping and mincing required. All you need is an ice tray!
Depending on your preferences, you can use melted butter or another oil like avocado oil or olive oil. Wash your herbs and remove any stems and brown leaves, then pat dry. Depending on what herb you’re using, you can either mince or chop your herbs. Some herbs can be left whole, like rosemary leaves. You can even mix and match herbs, just make sure you remember which ones you used! Once your herbs are chopped, place a big pinch or two of the herbs into each hole in a clean ice tray. Then, fill each hole with oil or melted butter about ⅔ the way up, being careful not to overfill. Finally, you can cover your ice tray with plastic wrap and leave in the freezer. That’s it!
To use, you can simply remove one or two cubes of the frozen mixtures and drop them into any recipe or dish — no need to thaw! Not only does this trick work great for soups and stews, but you can also throw your cups into a frying pan to quickly sauté chicken, steak, shrimp, and fish for easy weeknight meals! The best part is, this trick preserves the flavor of the fresh herbs for up to six months in the freezer. That means you never have to waste all that pure green cilantro again!