Y’all, this is a safe space. And I need an honest answer from you guys.
Unless you’re Ina Garten (and if you are OMG I LOVE YOU PLEASE INVITE ME TO YOUR HOUSE!!!), it’s doubtful that we all use all fresh herbs in every dish we make. As much as I’d like to I have embraced the fact that I haven’t had the energy to garden fresh herbs in the past, and buying them is waaaaaaaaay too pricey unless it’s totally necessary.
So. What do I do when I need to buy fresh herbs for a dish and then have 12 tablespoons of leftover chopped fresh herbs? Other than hurry up and use them in another recipe (not always possible), I freeze them for soups and stews and grain dishes later on!
It’s as simple as chop and freeze, and yes I do this with really leafy herbs like cilantro and basil as well. When it’s an herb like rosemary or thyme where you really only need a few tablespoons at a time, I put a tablespoon of fresh chopped herbs in the well of an ice tray, fill it up with filtered water, stir a bit (so all the leaves don’t rise to the top), and then freeze for 24 hours. After that just transfer to a freezer-safe airtight container and store in the freezer for future use.
For the leafy herbs like cilantro I chop it up and toss it into a freezer-safe plastic bag with about 1/4 cup of filtered water. It’s important to note that it won’t be leafy again when it thaws, but the flavor is still there. I like to make cilantro-lime rice for burrito bowl night, and I’ll set a bag of frozen cilantro in the fridge to thaw, then drain it off and stir it into the rice. Voila!
For the basil I like to make a batch of pesto and freeze that in ice cube trays. It makes for a really easy and really yummy quick pasta – just cook pasta to al dente, then stir in a couple of pesto cubes. Let it sit for a few minutes to melt, and then just stir it up!
I’d love to hear any other tips you guys have!