So today’s Sunday Scratchups is less a recipe than a how-to, in case your garden is also going nuts producing basil, oregano, and more fresh herbs. This week I started freezing both fresh herbs and pesto in ice cube trays for easy meals and seasonings later, so thought I’d share the process of how to freeze pesto and how to freeze fresh herbs. (Pack your trays a little better than I did above, as you can see there is a little too much water and the cubes should have more oregano in them — though they’ll be fine in sauces and other recipes later.)
Wash and chop your herbs, then grab yourself an ice cube tray. I have cheap ones from Target, but if you’re going to do a lot of this, you might want to invest in something like these Rubbermaid Easy Release ice cube trays. (Check out the reviews on these; everyone likes them!) Fill each cube about 2/3-3/4 full of chopped fresh herbs — above, basil from my garden.
Add just enough water so that the herbs are covered. You can see above that I could have added more herbs to mine — they smoosh down some when wet, so account for that when filling your trays.
Freeze for at least a couple of hours until you have nice solid herb ice cubes, then pop out, place in a freezer bag, and refreeze.
It’s then super easy later to just pull out however much frozen basil, oregano, or other herb you need in a recipe. When preserved this way, herbs are best used in sauces where a little extra liquid won’t matter.
I also froze some Cashew Spinach Basil Pesto for later, as well as some of the Dairy Free Cashew Spinach Basil Pesto for Dairy Free Junior High Guy. How great will this be when fresh herbs are less plentiful: Just thaw into a sauce for pasta, add a little more olive oil, a protein, and/or some veggies, and you have a quick meal ready to go. The pesto cubes aren’t as pretty since I made a thicker pesto (with less olive oil) that didn’t freeze evenly, but they’ll be just as tasty.
So I’d love to hear
I’m just starting here, but will also be adding jalapeño peppers from the garden, which I usually just freeze whole in freezer bags and then chop later for recipes, as well as more herbs and pesto. How do you preserve your garden herbs? I’d love to hear other methods and ideas.