I’m happily living in Fantasy Land right now…
I’m in full garden-bliss at the moment. Winter’s not coming this year, y’all. It’s gonna be fresh veggies 24/7, a happy green garden, and a thriving herb garden year round. One can dream, right? While we’re dreaming, let’s preserve some herbs in olive oil, shall we?
Reality check– winter will be here before I know it. And yes, my happy green plants will be buried under a blanket of snow.
Therefore, it’s time to get preserving.
I always try to grow herbs indoors during the winter, but they just never thrive like they do in the garden. That means it’s high-priority to get their flavors preserved, stat. There are jars of homemade herb salt in my fridge, dried herbs in the pantry, and herb-packed olive oil cubes in the freezer.
There’s just something special about the bright flavors of fresh herbs that’s hard to replace with the dried version. Now don’t get me wrong– I’m not hating’ on dried herbs– I still use them a ton, but fresh are still my favorite.
This little freezer trick works best for the tougher varieties of herbs you might commonly cook with, like oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme. A good rule of thumb is if you usually eat the herb raw, it generally *won’t* work as well here (i.e. chives, dill, and basil aren’t great with this technique).
The freezing part is important, as there is a risk of botulism when you attempt to store fresh herbs or even garlic for long periods in olive oil. Darn you, botulism. I had visions of big bottles of homemade garlic oil dancing in my head… Thankfully, an ice cube tray makes it super easy to have little blocks of herb goodness to use for later. No drying (or botulism) required.
How to Preserve Fresh Herbs in Olive Oil
You Will Need:
- Fresh herbs (such as oregano, rosemary, thyme, or sage)
- Olive oil (This is a great one)
- An ice cube tray or silicone mold with small compartments
This is barely even a recipe–it really doesn’t get easier than this– are you ready?
Pull the woody stems from the herbs, and chop the leaves into small pieces.
Stuff the ice cube tray at least 3/4 of the way full with the herbs.
Pour the olive oil to fill the rest of the way.
Freeze for 2-3 hours, or until set.
Pop the cubes out of the tray, then store in a sealed container in the freezer until you need them.
Yes, that’s it. It’s that easy. You can do this, I have faith. Your winter dishes will thank you.
- These melt super fast once you remove them from the fridge- just FYI. (I had to scramble to even get the photos shot!)
- You could totally use other cooking oils instead of olive oil, if you prefer. Melted coconut oil, butter, or lard would all work to add to the cubes. I would still store the finished cubes in the freezer to be safe, though.
- Use your handy-dandy herb cubes in soups & stews, marinades, salad dressings, or sautéing.
- The combos are endless here. I used sage for this batch because I have SO MUCH, but you could get totally creative and combine herbs too. I’m thinking sage + thyme would be awesomesauce.
Listen to the Old Fashioned On Purpose podcast episode #22 on the topic How To Preserve Fresh Herbs For Later HERE.