Have you ever found yourself wishing that you could enjoy fresh herbs all year round? Well, here’s some good news: freezing herbs in olive oil is an easy and effective way to preserve their robust flavor, which makes for delicious cooking even when the growing season is long over.
Storing fresh herbs in olive oil is almost criminally easy. All you need is herbs, oil, and an ice cube tray, and you can create little flavor-filled nuggets that can be used for anything from stir-frys to pan-fried chicken to salad dressings or soups.
Once you try this easy method, you’ll be hooked! Preserving herbs in this way maintains the flavor of fresh herbs, which means that your cooking will taste garden fresh all year long.
How to store fresh herbs in olive oil —
- Olive oil
- Fresh herbs of your choosing
- An ice cube tray
- Plastic wrap or freezer-safe bags
Clean and thoroughly dry your ice cube tray. You don’t want slivers of ice water at the bottom of each vessel.
Cut, or tear by hand, the herbs of your choosing. You want to fill each vessel of the ice cube tray about halfway to two thirds full of the herbs of your choosing.
Pour olive oil on top of the herbs. If some of the leaves or buds peek up above the level of the oil, use a spoon or fork to press the herbs down. You want them to be as fully submerged in the oil as possible. A portion of a stem poking out isn’t the end of the world, but just try to minimize it as best you can.
Place the ice cube tray on a level space in your freezer. Let the cubes chill until the oil has become solid, a few hours or overnight.
To remove, overturn the tray and let the cubes fall out (as you would with ice). If the cubes resist, insert a sharp knife along the side of each vessel and the cubes should come out fairly easily.
Tips & suggestions for freezing herbs in olive oil:
Firm, fresh herbs work best for storing in olive oil. The better quality the herbs are to begin with, the better they will taste later.
You can chop your herbs very fine, or include larger sprigs/leaves. This is totally up to you, depending on your preference and how you think you’ll be using the herbs later.
Go ahead, make a mix! A mix of herbs, such as rosemary and oregano or parsley and sage, can make for flavorful cooking later.
Want to use an alternate oil? Go for it. This experiment would also work with coconut oil or your favorite cooking oil. Just note that since freezing will dull the flavor of the oil somewhat, it might not be the best use of your most expensive or subtly flavored cooking oil.
Storing your frozen herbs:
Once the oil has solidified, you you can extract the cubes from the ice cube tray and store them in bags in the freezer. If left at room temperature, the oil will quickly become liquid again.
Be sure to store like herbs with like, and to label the bags. Or, if you prefer to keep each cube separated, you can simply cover the tray with plastic or put it in a freezer bag and remove cubes on demand.
How to use herbs frozen in olive oil:
My personal favorite way to use these herbs frozen in oil is to pop one into a skillet and get cooking. The oil will melt rapidly, and once it heats you can cook as usual. A single cube of olive oil infused with rosemary yielded a batch of incredibly tender, flavorful pan-fried boneless chicken thighs.