Rosemary is a hardy herb that is suitable for long cooking times. This also means that the herb is very durable. Rosemary is great for cooked dishes and vegetables, and can also be used in roast vegetables.
Rosemary can be combined with other herbs to give unique flavors the possibilities are almost endless. So, if you have a bunch of rosemary in your garden or you came across a very good sale and just couldn’t stop yourself from buying more than you usually do, how do you preserve it?
Can you freeze rosemary? Yes, you can. The hardiness of rosemary makes it very freezer friendly. It is less prone to freezer burn and can last for a year in the freezer. Herbs turn dark green in the freezer, but their taste and flavor are left somewhat untouched if not left for too long.
Herbs like Rosemary are sometimes blended with other herbs and made into Pesto to preserve them. But freezing is one of the tricks up your sleeve that can keep your rosemary intact for later use.
How to Freeze Rosemary
Rosemary can be frozen in two different ways, and for the sake of completeness, we are going to talk about the two of them.
- Freezing Rosemary
- Freezing Rosemary into Cubes
Freezing rosemary is very easy, no need to blanch or undergo any complex process. The hardy nature of the herb makes it very freezer friendly. All that is needed is little effort to help keep the rosemary from the harsh conditions in the freezer.
Step 1: Preparation
Before freezing anything at all, it is always good to prepare them to fit into what you want. If you are getting your rosemary from your garden, pick each sprig and wash them thoroughly under running water. This would help you keep all the bugs, dust, and debris away. Drain the sprigs in a colander and leave them to air dry.
Step 2: Flash Freezing (Optional)
You can go on to freeze your rosemary and skip this process. But, as your rosemary freezes, the sprigs stick together. Separating them when you want to use them could be a lot of work and a waste of herbs. So, flash freezing is a very effective way of ensuring that they do not stick together.
Get a cookie sheet and line it with parchment paper. The parchment paper is to keep your sprigs from sticking to the sheet as you flash freeze. Lay the sprigs individually on the lined sheet and make sure each one isn’t touching the other before putting them in the freezer to freeze.
Place the sheet in the freezer and keep checking till the sprigs have frozen solid. To know that, lift the sprigs from the sheet and observe the leaves. If they are frozen solid, they wouldn’t move on their own accord when you shake the entire sprig.
Step 3: Storage
Get your airtight freezer bags ready and pack the sprigs into them. How you pack them shouldn’t matter now because the sprigs won’t be stuck together as they freeze.
Expel as much air as you can from the bags before you seal them. If there is too much air in the bags, it can make the sprigs darken or mold as they freeze.
Step 4: Freezing
Label the bags with a sharpie, stating the contents and date of the freeze. In case you lose track of what you have stored in the freezer, those labels would help you identify the food items and their freezing time.
After labeling, place your packs of rosemary in the freezer to freeze. Be careful to not place your rosemary where it can be easily squashed by other larger food items.
Freezing Rosemary into Cubes
If you are the kind that likes to add a dash of rosemary into soups, pasta, or cooked dishes. This method is suitable for you.
Step 1: Preparation
Prepare the rosemary as described above. Wash, rinse, and dry.
Step 2: Cut the Rosemary
You need to separate the leaves from the stems and chop them as you would chop fresh rosemary before using them. Cut them using a sharp knife on a chopping board. Chop the leaves into smaller sizes and portion them into your desired measurement. This way, you know how much rosemary each cube is worth.
Step 3: Making Ice Cube Rosemary
Get an ice cube tray ready, and stuff the cubes with the portioned rosemary leaves. Fill the cubes with water or olive oil according to your preferences, until the rosemary is completely immersed. Leave some space for expansion in the cubes by not filling them to the brim. Place the tray into the freezer till the cubes freeze solid.
Step 4: Storage and Freezing
When the cubes have frozen solid, pry them from the trays and transfer them into Ziploc bags or airtight freezer bags. Suck the air out with a straw, or press the bags flat to expel as much air as you can before sealing them. Label the bags then, place them in the freezer to freeze long term.
How to Thaw Frozen Rosemary
Frozen rosemary can be used in several dishes without thawing. The frozen sprigs can be added to cooked dishes and the same goes for rosemary frozen into cubes. If you do not want a mess, don’t defrost rosemary frozen into cubes, just use them like that in your recipe.
However, you do not need to leave rosemary in your refrigerator to thaw overnight. Just thaw the packs in a bowl of warm water or leave them to thaw on the counter if you are not pressed for time.
Is it Better to Dry or Freeze Herbs?
Yes, It is better to freeze your herbs rather than dry them. Freezing herbs preserves the essential oils that give them the flavor that you crave. Since freezing herbs is so easy to carry out, it is obviously the better choice here.