Freeze Drying Herbs

HarvestRight-herbs 3

Holiday recipes inevitably require 1 tablespoon of an herb, but you have to buy a whole stem (or plant!) from the store. That leaves us wondering what to do with all that expensive sage and basil before it turns brown and mushy.

If you have a home freeze dryer, it’s no problem! You can freeze dry all herbs, and you can even freeze dry different herbs in one batch or with other foods. Freeze dried herbs retain all of their flavor and will keep for years, just like they were fresh, if packaged properly. If you’re using herbs from the market this year, freeze dry the extras with your feast leftovers. If you don’t already have an herb garden planned for next year, take note of what you’re using throughout the Fall and Winter and be sure to plant plenty for freeze-drying next Summer!

Comments

We don’t have a weight measurement on herbs. You could definitely put as much as you could on all four trays — keeping it about the height of the tray or a little higher. Herbs freeze dry fast as there isn’t a lot of water.

I would suspect you should leave them as whole as possible until you are ready to use them. Everything I have read they are more likely to lose their flavors and oils if they are chopped up at storage time when drying the old fashioned way.

Two questions, do you freeze dry the stems and all? Who here has actually freeze dried herbs and what was your method?

I’m freeze drying a bunch of basil right now. I plan on trying to throw some in the Ninja food processor and storing them in mason jars. Perhaps sharing some with friends. Perhaps keeping them whole. I haven’t decided yet. I’ll experiment once the basil is done drying…

I grow a lot of garlic and have freeze dried it as well as using a dehydrator. Both ways work. The freeze dried version I did chop, but not minced. I use silicone liners (or parchment paper) under garlic. Drawbacks are it does make the tank smell and you have to keep it sealed well or it gets soggy. Where as dehydrating basically bakes it so it doesn’t get sticky with exposure like the fried dried version

This spring we tested some new peat seed trays and wound up with 32 cilantro, sweet basil, and kale plants. Couldn’t let them die, so we planted all – talk about abundance! We freeze dried some leaves, which turned out brittle and took up a lot of tray space. Tried chopping kale in our food processor, then freeze drying. Each tray in our large unit will hold about ten wet cups, which dried to “fluffy” – a new kitchen term in our house – which lightly compacted to about six cups. We store in quart Ball jars. The clumsy one (me) likes kale smoothies, so for kicks ran some through the NutriBullet. Powdered quickly to about two cups, is free flowing and tastes great. Did the same with cilantro and basil. Distributed samples to friends with favorable replies. Plus, we have enough freeze dried kale to last for the next 37 years! Happy Thanksgiving!

Apricots are wonderful freeze dried and really easy to do. Just cut in half, put them on the trays. We also love to do peaches and plums as well.

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