I have a pot with oregano and basil growing by the oven and was wondering if I could somehow freeze whole leaves for this winter? I have seen where people chop them and freeze them, but where I have such a small amount I think whole leaves may do better. Ideas?
Re: Saving herbs
I've been growing and freezing basil and Cilantro for many years. I freeze the leaves whole in 1 gal freezer bags. I usually end up crushing about half (while frozen - you have to work fast or it will thaw) and pour into 1 qt bags. I like to have both whole and crushed leaves on hand.
3 basil plants will usually net me 3 stuffed 1 qt bags of crushed and 2 bags of whole leaves (bags not stuffed). The key to basil is learning how to trim it properly to promote more growth. Simply cutting off the entire leaf bunch or "bud" is the wrong approach. These nice clusters look nice and thats what stores sell, but it will not promote much growth and actually causes the plant to go to seed much faster. You have to trim carefully, looking for the new leaves which sprout at the base of the other leaf stems and then cut the leaves individually. Keep trimming every week or 2, after a couple of months it does become difficult keeping the plant from blooming. Once it blooms your done, it sucks the taste right out of the leaves (they can actually become a bit bitter).
I can usually get about 6-8 high volume cuttings from each plant over 3-4 months. What I get from those 3 plants will usually last me about 9 months (perfect timing for planting again during the peak season).
Re: Saving herbs
I usually freeze herbs like basil, parsley, and oregano by chopping them in the food processor and adding a bit of olive oil. (Like a pesto) Then I pack them into small jars, or you can freeze them in ice cube trays.
The oil helps trap the fresh flavors by protecting the flavor components from oxidation.
Once you thaw a little bit, you can use it for a week at least.
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