Mint is usually abundant in the summertime and is a great herb to have in the kitchen. It is arguably the most versatile herb out there. Mint can be used in cooked dishes or recipes, and baked goods. It can also be used to spice drinks and garnish salad.
There are about 13 to 24 existing species of mint out there. Mint has a good supply of antioxidants and has vitamin A that is good for eye health and helps to improve night vision. So, if you happen to get a bunch of mints from the store or your garden, how do you preserve it?
Can you freeze mint? Yes, you can. You can prolong the shelf life of mint for up to 6 months while keeping it at its best quality and preserve the unique flavor that mint brings to dishes.
Freezing mint is super easy. There are several ways you can go about it, and freezing mint is way better than drying it out to store for long. Freezing helps to keep the essential oils and flavor intact, unlike drying. With all these said, let’s move on to how to freeze mint.
How to Freeze Mint
There are several ways by which you can freeze mint, each one dependent on how or where it would be used upon freezing.
- Freezing Mint
- Freezing Mint into Cubes
Freezing mint does nothing to improve the flavor or composition of nutrients. If frozen for too long, the herbs start to lose their quality. So, the sole aim of freezing mints is to prolong their shelf life for future use.
Step 1: Preparation
Picking the healthiest leaves is vital to your freezing process. Since the aim is to keep the herbs in optimal condition, you should start with the best crop you can find.
In preparing your mint, you have to trim the top section. Do this for every stalk you want to freeze. Careful not to cut too much, make you have at least two-thirds of your leaf left. Wash your leaves under running water. Then drain in a colander, and leave them to air-dry.
Step 2: Flash Freezing
As mint leaves freeze, they clump together and can be very hard to separate after freezing. By flash freezing, we can prevent this process. This makes the usage of your frozen mint easier.
Line a baking sheet with wax paper, lay the leaves individually on the sheet, and space them so they are not touching or overlapping each other. Next, cover the leaves with plastic wrap. This is to help isolate the leaves and prevent them from falling off the sheet in the freezer. Place the sheet into the freezer to freeze overnight so it can freeze solid.
Step 3: Storage
Remove your baking sheet from the freezer and pack your half-frozen mint leaves into Ziploc bags or airtight freezer bags. You can pack them in any way you want.
Expel as much air as you can from the bags before sealing them. If the leaves have frozen properly during the flash freeze, you won’t have to worry about them sticking together.
Step 4: Freezing
Label the storage bags with their contents and the date of the freeze, so you can keep track of what you have stored and for how long you have stored. This also aids meal planning related activities. Once this is done, you can place your bags in the freezer to freeze long term.
Freezing Mint into Cubes
This method is favored by people that want to use their mint to spice and chill drinks or in addition to cooked dishes and recipes. So, follow the same process as described above. Pick the best leaves, trim them, and wash them thoroughly to keep the dirt and debris away.
You can decide to chop your mint leaves into smaller sizes or use them as they are. This is entirely dependent on cooking style, choice, or preference. Chopping the leaves can also help you better portion it into measurement for your recipes. Then, get ice cube making trays.
You can freeze mint into cubes with oil or water. You could do both, section the trays or just use entirely different trays. Stuff the pockets of the ice trays with the mint leaves and fill them with water or oil until the leaves are completely immersed. However, leave an inch or half of headspace in the pockets so the liquid can expand without overflowing.
Put the trays into the freezer till it freezes solid. Bring them out of the freezer, pry out the iced mint and transfer them into an airtight freezer bag. Expel as much air as you can from the bags before sealing them. Don’t forget to label the bags before putting them in the freezer to freeze.
How to Thaw Frozen Mint
Frozen cubes mints can be used in almost any kind of recipe. Just remember to use oil where you want it and water where you need it. The cube mints can also be used in mixing drinks, to add the unique mint flavor and a chill.
You can thaw cubed mints in a strainer on the counter and thaw packs of frozen mint leaf overnight in the refrigerator.
How to Recognize Spoiled Mint
It is very simple and easy. Spoiled mint will have an odd appearance and an odd smell. You would notice discoloration and the leaves would be soft to touch.