Freeze Drying Herbs

sage and basil

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!


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…

We have done stinging nettles, sage, thyme, rosemary, basil, dill, mint and more. It’s easy and satisfying to know that our garden didn’t go to waste.
I put the nettles in a food processor and powdered them. I had a Golden Retriever that had a tumor in her side. The vet said it was inoperable and she wouldn’t live more than six weeks. Since nettles are tumor inhibitors I gave her a teaspoon on her meal twice a day. She lived 14 happy months before we put her down. I now give my other two dogs a half of teaspoon on there meals.

Casey this is 3 yrs later but I have ans XL fd and wanting to grow nettles also …how did you keep it in tact so doesn’t overrun your garden n did you just Freeze dry them of freeze them first

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

I successfully freeze dried both minced and sliced garlic in the same batch (different trays). The flavor retention is fantastic and it makes cooking with garlic a breeze. I sometimes rehydrate before using, but if the recipe contains enough liquid, even that step is unnecessary.

I just did a bag of the peeled garlic from Costco
The stuff I minced/diced turned out great.
I sliced two trays worth, cutting it length wise, the center slices turned out great, but many of the end pieces did not dry after 24 hours and are like gummy, they bend instead of snap, not sure what to do with them now…

Run them through a slap chopper or food processor and re freeze dry them. I had the same problem when I was trying to figure out the best way to do garlic. Some of it I actually oven roasted and then freeze dried it after it was all chopped up. I find it works the very best rough chopped.

I have freeze dried herbs a few time and later used them in recipes with success later.

I gently rinse them and pat dry and leave them whole. I usually take off the thickest stems but it is really easy to snap them off after freeze drying them.

I’ve even freeze dried the ingredients for an amazing Chimichurri sauce and then all I have to add is water and the other liquids. Amazing!!

I’ve freeze dried basil, mint, dill, oregano, thyme, lemongrass (1” lengths) and probably a few others.

Garlic is best minced
Ginger – sliced , grated or rough chopped

I keep glass jars of them in my pantry to help speed up making recipes in busy nights.

I make chips using a small mandolin
Garlic powder food processor then freeze dry I use a grain grinder or coffee grinder to powder them. Also FD garlic scapes

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.

I would say yes as they really don’t contain a lot of moisture. I’ve done cilantro and it turned out great.

I’m wanting to freeze dry fresh chives. How do I go about storing them so that I can only use small amounts at a time. I planned to put them in jars but wondering about reopening the jar frequently for use.

#1 Has anyone freeze dried powdered spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, etc?

#2 Can you freeze dry powdered yeast?

I am wondering about prep before drying? Also a few have asked if you leave the stems on? My question as well?

I typically freeze everything first, but you can put them directly in the machine as well. Most herbs freeze dry fairly quickly in my experience.

I just finished a batch of rosemary, basil, oregano, marjoram & spinach. Took herbs off the stems, just hit start without customizing any settings. Took 12 hours, start to complete.

Fun, and very necessary. Covid is one thing, war is another. When I read that a GOVERMENT is paying farmers not to produce food. Well, weather true or not, it makes you think. Really all you have to do is look around. NOTHING WRONG IN STORING FOOD /EVEN HIDING IT. IT IS SMART TO BE PREPARED. FOR 1-2 AMP PER LOAD.

If you want the chives to be like the store bought, then cut the chives in small sections and freeze dry. You can easily use in small batches. Put some in a small jar and the rest in Mylar bags. You can re-open refill the jar and then reseal the Mylar bag. That way it continues to stay fresh.

Doesn’t the O2 absorber not work once you open the mylar bag? If not, even if resealed quickly, will the herbs still maintain their freshness? Relatively new to FD and trying to decide if I should get rid of my dehydrator?

Chives…is it ok to do them with things like basil, oregano and rosemary or will everything taste/smell like chives?

When freeze drying herbs, do all 4 trays need to be filled? I might not have enough herbs from the garden to fill all 4 trays

I thought I read on this site a year or so ago that you should use a lower temp for drying? What temp is best for drying herbs?

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