Don’t Waste Those Herbs!

Sweet Potato & RosemaryWe live in Los Angeles, a sprawling city where lemon, lime and orange trees pop up on every lawn and rosemary bushes grow like weeds. Well, we have something to admit. There was a house in our neighborhood with six untamed rosemary bushes that had clearly been left to grow at wild abandon. So we took a few sprigs! OK, maybe a lot of sprigs. Just ripped them off with our bare hands. Now we’ve bought more than our share of fresh herbs at Trader Joe’s, Von’s and Ralph’s, so don’t judge. Our actions were probably samaritan. Those bushes needed trimming anyways! But now we have all this leftover rosemary that should surely not go to waste, so what next? Operation Waste Not!

Freezing herbs is the easiest, fastest way to ensure you always have a little flavor to toss into your winter soups, stews, brews and even cocktails. Follow the steps, and you’re good to go.

Fresh Rosemary 1

1. Wash herbs.  Dry on paper towels spread on cookie sheets.

Fresh Rosemary 2

3. Place in plastic bags.

Fresh Rosemary 4

4. Freeze.

When herbs have frozen, you can rub off the leaves and use as normal. Frozen leaves can be stored in smaller, air-tight containers. We suggest using frozen herbs in foods and not as garnish. Occasionally, frozen herbs can take on a less vibrant color than their unfrozen counterparts.

Now we have frozen rosemary that’ll last a good while. If any other herbs pop up in surplus, they’ll have the same fate. Whether you harvest your own herbs, buy in bulk or pilfer from your neighbors, now you have another way to be economical and practical in the kitchen.

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13 thoughts on “Don’t Waste Those Herbs!

  1. Great tip! It makes me so sad when useful plants go to waste.

    I’m sitting with a huge untrimmed Bay tree at the moment. Care to play a good samaritan again? 😉

  2. This is great! I had done this technique except for the freezing part! I use herbs in everything I cook and this is a great way to keep them around longer! Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Oh wow, I wish I had known this at Thanksgiving. I just threw away a TON of fresh herbs that I bought and that went bad after I had barely used any. What a waste of money! I was going to give up on buying fresh herbs altogether until I read this. Thanks for the tip!

  4. I totally just learned about freezing herbs last year and it changed my winter cooking in such a great way. Now I have real flavor all year long!

  5. I gotta remember to do this! Too many times have I ended chucking un-used rosemary, thyme, sage etc. … no more wastage!!!

  6. If you want to freeze things like basil, celontro and sage, consider putting them in the blender with a little water. Blend them down until they make a loose paste or a slurry and then freeze them into cubes. If you are familiar with Trader Joe’s then you may have seen in their freezer section frozen herbs in 1 teaspoon cubes. I have saved the little trays and use them to put my herbs in.

  7. I used to have a huge rosemary shrub in my front yard. I would not have minded some pruning help with it! For tender herbs like basil or cilantro, I make big batches of pesto and freeze them. Love the freezer!

  8. What a great tip – I never think of freezing herbs even though I feel sure I was aware that you could!

    It’s like another thing I discovered recently which was freezing fresh ginger – just peel it, cut into pieces of the size you’re likely to use, wrap the pieces in cling film or plastic and freeze. You can then use as you need and can grate it directly from frozen (grates a bit easier that way too!)

  9. Great information! It sounds crazy to say this … but I’ve never thought to freeze rosemary. Thank you for this much needed tip!

    Oh – and that baked yam looks yummy too! 🙂

  10. wait? are you for real? i wish i had known this sooner!!! i always get my herbs at the farmer’s market and they come in huge bulks and I am never able to use them quickly enough so they always end up getting thrown out. this is super good news!!!

    and yea, i totally steal oranges from my neighbor’s tree. someone should get use out of fresh produce!

  11. I say you were being good samaritans by trimming those bushes. Good for you, I’m sure you helped the curb appeal of your neighborhood and got a fragrant treat at the same time.

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