Sunday, September 30, 2012

Preserving Herbs in Oil

I really miss my garden's fresh herbs in the winter!  I've found that chopping herbs in the food processor and freezing them in olive oil maintains their freshness and is a super time saver all year round.

There are several herbs I wouldn't be caught dead using dried: parsley, basil and dill do not maintain their flavor when dehydrated (to my liking, anyways).  When freezing herbs in oil, I typically use parsley or cilantro as a base and add a well-proportioned amount of other herbs that I know will go well in certain dishes.  Today, I made a light and summery mix of dill and parsley with garlic, an Italian mix of basil, rosemary, oregano and thyme, and one of pure basil with just a touch of garlic.

To use the herb cubes, toss them into your finished dish just a couple minutes before it's done cooking and stir.  The herbs will infuse flavor into sauces and soups in a minute or two but you don't want to cook them too long or their flavor will be muted greatly.  These herb cubes are also great for making salad dressings or tossed into your batch of homemade broth!

Preserved Herbs in Oil:

In a food processor, chop garlic (if using) before adding the green herbs.  Then fill the basin with fresh herbs (just the leaves, no stems) of your choice.  Turn onto the chop setting and slowly pour in olive oil while processing.  Stop pouring oil when there is enough moisture for the mix to come together.  Stop processing when most of the large chunks of herb are chopped fine.

Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze overnight.  Remove cubes from the tray and place in containers labelled with the type of herb mix.

Here are some ideas and proportions to get you started.  For each recipe, start by adding one cube, then more to taste.

Spring mix:  5 parts parsley to 3 parts dill.  Add to a simple dressing of oil and vinegar or Egg Lemon Soup.

Italian Mix:  5 parts basil, 2 parts oregano, 1 part thyme, 1/2 part rosemary.  Mix into hamburger when making meatballs or add to Tuscan Tomato Soup.

Basil and garlic:  1 garlic clove to each cup of basil.  Add to Red Sauce or to a dressing for Sweet Pepper and Olive Salad.



  1. Wow! This is brilliant Hannah! I'm going to do this with my basil that needs to be picked. Great idea! Thank you!

  2. I saw this over at Feral Kitchen and thought I would drop by and let you know that I tried it today with a whole bunch of basil. What a fantastic way to take care a lot of herbs! So easy and fast! I'm bookmarking this for next year or if I get lucky to get more fresh herbs, this year. I'm anxious to try your blends. Thanks for this great idea!

  3. Thanks Tessa and mjskit! Happy herb gardening!!!

  4. I like the concept of using the herb and now a days herbs are using in the medicines also. I am also looking for a medicine which include the natural hurbs.liquid extracts

  5. There are many ways to preserved a herbs for future use, one of the is using oil. Herbs have many different uses and it is important for them to be preserved so that its nutritional values and other healing power stays for future usage. livets olie


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