Ultimate Guide to Freezing Spices and Herbs

If you are looking to freeze and store spices and herbs for the long term, this comprehensive guide has got you covered.

I have found these methods and tips to work wonderfully.

So, let’s get started.

Benefits of Freezing Spices and Herbs

Freezing spices and herbs is a great way to make the most out of a large harvest or purchase, while still retaining its Nutritional value and aroma.

1. Freezing Spices and Herbs Retains Its Aroma and Flavor

Keeping herbs fresh for a long is tricky.

This is why freezing the herbs as a paste or pesto or in essential oils is a great way to keep the aroma and flavor of the herbs intact for a long time.

2. Freezing Herbs Saves Money and Reduces Waste

Not everyone has a garden patch of herbs to work with, and some herbs are expensive to buy in small quantities.

In which case, buying in bulk and freezing them is a great way to make the most out of the money you spent and the herbs you bought.

3. Freezing Herbs in Olive Oil Has Additional Benefits

From anti-inflammatory properties to building the immune system, freezing certain herbs, in olive oil, shows several nutritional and health benefits.

On top of which, it is a great way to flavor your dishes.

Pre-Freezing Preparation for Spices and Herbs

While freezing spices and herbs are pretty straightforward, here are some things to take care of before freezing them.

Wash and Clean Thoroughly

Make sure to wash the herbs thoroughly before freezing them. Get rid of any worm-eaten or damaged leaves before you get to cutting and freezing them.

Decide How You Plan to Use Them Later On

Whether you plan to use them as a flavoring ingredient or want to use them in pesto or compound butter, think of how you plan to use them later on.

This way, you can freeze the herbs and spices that fit well with your meal plan.

Do Not Freeze Dry Spices

If you are dealing with dry spices or powdered spices, it is strongly recommended not to freeze them, unless they are vacuum-sealed.

They are best stored in dry areas rather than in the freezer.

Methods of Freezing Spices and Herbs

Once you have prepped and decided how you plan to work with the spices and herbs, let’s get right into freezing them.

Method 1 – Freezing Spices and Herbs in Olive Oil

This is one of the most recommended methods of freezing and storing herbs and spices for the long term.

  • Wash the herbs thoroughly, and then chop them up.
  • Fill the herbs or spices into an ice cube tray and top them with olive oil.
  • Leave the ice cube tray in the freezer for a couple of hours and let it set solid.
  • Transfer the frozen cubes of herbs in oil into a Ziploc bag and seal them in.
  • Label the bag with the best before date, and you are all set to freeze the herbs.

For a clearer picture, check out this video by “Tasty Yummies” on YouTube –

Method 2 – Freezing Spices and Herbs as a Paste

Whether you make a paste with olive oil or with water, this is yet another great way to freeze fresh herbs for the long term.

  • Wash and clean the herbs. Then put them in a blender with a few spoons of water or olive oil as you prefer.
    Once they get into a paste consistency, transfer them into a Ziploc bag.
  • You could, optionally, opt to fill them up in ice cube trays and flash freeze them before transferring them to Ziploc bags.
  • Seal the Ziploc bag, making sure to squeeze out all the excess air.
  • Add a label to the bag with the best before date.
  • Flatten the bag and freeze it lying down so that you will have a sheet of herb paste that you can easily break chunks off of.

Here is a video tutorial by “Robin Asbell Plant Based Chef” on YouTube –

Method 3 – Freezing Spices and Herbs in Compound Butter

This is a great way to have all the flavors of herbs and spices locked in and ready to use for cooking or as a spread.

  • Wash and chop up the herbs as finely as you can.
  • Into a bowl add a stick or two of butter and some seasoning and lemon zest if you prefer.
  • Mix the cut herbs into it and then scoop it onto a sheet of parchment paper.
  • Roll the butter into a log and wrap it up. If you don’t plan to use the whole log in one go, you cut them into thin coins and then wrap them separately.
  • Put the wrapped compound butter into a Ziploc bag or freezer-safe air-tight container for added protection.
  • Label the bag or container, and you are good to go.

Check out this video by “Home and Garden for Mere Mortals” on YouTube to see how it is done –

Method 4 – Freezing Spices and Herbs after Flash Freezing Them

If you are not quite sure of how you plan to use the herbs, later on, this would be a great method to opt for.

  • Wash and dry the herbs and then chop them or separate the leaves.
  • Lay the leaves or the chopped herbs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and make sure that they are evenly spread out.
  • Leave the tray in the freezer for a couple of hours or overnight, and let the leaves freeze solid.
  • Transfer the frozen herbs into a Ziploc bag or a freezer-safe air-tight container and seal them in.
  • Label the bag, and you are ready to freeze the herbs for the long term.

Method 5 – Freezing Spices and Herbs in Pesto

Another great way to preserve herbs for the long term is to make pesto out of them.

  • Wash the herbs, and then make a pesto recipe of your choice.
  • You can now opt to simply pack them into Ziploc bags or freezer-safe containers and freeze them.
  • Or you could fill them into ice cube trays or silicone molds and flash freeze them.
  • Once the pesto freezes solid, you can transfer them into a Ziploc bag or freezer-safe air-tight container and seal them in.
  • Label the container or bag, and you are all set.

Here is a video tutorial on how to make and freeze herb pesto by “Cooking and Calm” on YouTube –

How to Store Frozen Spices and Herbs?

You can store frozen spices and herbs in any freezer-safe air-tight container or Ziploc bag. As long as they are well protected from being exposed to air or freezer burns, you are good to go.

Precautions Before Packing

When freezing compound butter or pesto in a container, make sure to portion it out beforehand unless you plan to use the whole batch in one go.

If you only normally use small portions at a time, you would have to refreeze or throw out the leftovers otherwise.

If you are using a freezer-safe container to store the pesto, make sure to leave an inch or two of space on the top to accommodate any expansion once it freezes.

If it is filled to the brim, the container can crack and leak
its contents.

Another thing to take care of is the labeling. If you are freezing multiple herbs, make sure to mark out the names and the respective best before date.

Best Materials to Pack In

You can use any freezer-safe air-tight container or Ziploc bag. Plastic and glass containers work just fine.

Avoid metal containers, especially if you are freezing pesto since the acidic content can react with the metal.

Best Places to Store After Packing

Keep a small quantity that you plan to use immediately near the door of the freezer or in the fridge.

For
long-term storage and big batches, it is best to keep them in the coolest part of the freezer to maintain a steady temperature.

Bottom Line

I hope this article helped you freeze and store spices and herbs past their summer prime.

If you have any doubts or want to share some tips and tricks of your own, it would be great to hear from you.

Feel free to share this article with your friends and family to help them make the most out of their herbs and spices.

Detailed Guides on Freezing Herbs & Spices