How to Freeze Fresh Herbs: Rosemary and Thyme
This post shares tips on How to Freeze Rosemary and Thyme and have it to use during the winter in recipes! Did you know that many fresh herbs can be frozen in the summer when they’re abundant and then used all through the winter?
PIN How to Freeze Fresh Herbs: Rosemary and Thyme.
Even though it’s still quite warm in Utah, I can feel the nights getting a bit cooler, and I know it’s not that long until the garden goodness has to either be preserved or lost. I hate losing anything that comes from my garden, and try to freeze as much as possible. Since I have lots and lots of herbs, a few years ago I started to experiment with freezing them to see if I could preserve the flavor enough to make it worthwhile to use the herbs in the winter. I’m no expert, but I’ve learned a few tricks.
I actually discovered how to do this somewhat by accident when I cut the branches off my rosemary and thyme bushes one fall and didn’t have time to pick the leaves off. I washed the herbs, then put the stems into a Ziploc bag and put it in the freezer, not sure what would happen.
I was delightfully surprised when the frozen leaves fell off the stems, and even happier when I tried using some of the frozen rosemary and thyme leaves and discovered they were nearly as good as fresh. Try this if you have rosemary and thyme in your garden and live where there’s a cold winter, and I think you’ll like the result.
Read about the difference between soft herbs and hard herbs:
If you’re going to try freezing herbs, first it helps to understand the difference between soft herbs and hard herbs. Years ago Helen from Beyond Salmon wrote an excellent post on preserving and using herbs in which she explained this well.
Which ones are Soft Herbs?
Basically soft herbs are things like basil, cilantro, parsley, oregano, and mint which are either eaten raw or added only for a few minutes of cooking. I’ve written earlier about how to freeze fresh basil, and I suspect that many of the other soft herbs can be frozen that way also, although basil combines especially well with the olive oil.
Which ones are Hard Herbs?
Hard herbs are things like rosemary, thyme, savory, and sage which are suitable for long cooking times. The two things from this list that I’ve had great luck freezing are rosemary and thyme.
Step One for Freezing Rosemary or Thyme:
To freeze rosemary or thyme, start by cutting some stems with leaves of rosemary or thyme. Make them short enough they’ll fit into a ziploc bag. The herbs should be washed in cold water and either spun dry or blotted dry with paper towels.
Step Two for Freezing Rosemary or Thyme:
Put rosemary in small Ziploc bag.
Use a separate Ziploc bag for the thyme. Let thyme and rosemary stay in the freezer for several weeks.
Step Three for Freezing Rosemary or Thyme:
After a few weeks, take ziploc bag out of the freezer and use a rolling pin to roll over the bag containing the herbs. You should see a significant amount of leaves come loose from the stems. If some leaves don’t come off, you can remove the loose leaves and freeze the others a bit longer, or pick the rest off by hand.
This rosemary has been frozen for nearly a year and is still green and very fragrant.
Thyme is a bit more fragile than rosemary, but this thyme is still great after nearly a year in the freezer.
Step Four: Storing the Rosemary and thyme leaves.
After I’ve separated the leaves from the stems, I like to store my frozen herbs in canning jars which have a lid that seals well. This keeps moisture away from the herbs. (The jars go back in the freezer.)
Enjoy using your frozen rosemary and thyme!
That’s how easy it is to preserve the rosemary and thyme from your garden to use in wonderful soups and stews all winter long. Use the frozen leaves in any recipe calling for fresh rosemary or thyme. For recipes created using dried thyme or rosemary, use about twice as much of the frozen herbs as you would the dried version.
More Tips for Freezing Things from the Garden and Other Ingredients:
My Favorite Tips for Freezing Garden Tomatoes, Fresh Herbs, and Vegetables
More About Freezing Fresh Herbs: Freezing Sage, Tarragon, and Mint
Freezing Fresh Lemon and Lime Juice
68 Comments on “How to Freeze Fresh Herbs: Rosemary and Thyme”
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They should be pretty dry when you put them in the freezer, but they don't need to be 100% bone dry.
Just so I'm clear, when you rinse the herbs then they're still kind of damp when you put them in the freezer, right? You're just blotting them and not actually letting them set out on the counter to 100% dry before putting them in the bags and freezing?
Thanks for the info on freezing herbs.
Katy, so glad it was useful for you. I still do this every year!
This is an oldie but goodie. My friend Googleed me up your site. I had a ton of rosemary and nothing to immediately use it in so I needed help. Thanks for this!
I haven't tried freezing chives. Let me know how it works if you try it!
I have tried freezing rosemary just like you did – kind of lazy and just threw them in a bag in the freezer! I love that you put your herbs in glass jars! Have you tried freezing chives?
Cindy, did you try entering your e-mail after you click the link that says "subscribe by e-mail" and it didn't work? If so send me an e-mail (under Contact) and I will forward it to the company that manages the e-mail subscriptions.
Great post! I've pinned it and shared it on Facebook, but I can't seem to successfully subscribe to your blog via e-mail. 🙁 And I WANT to!
I am going to try this with some fresh thyme I have.:-) Thank you so much for sharing!
Wishing you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas!:-)
So glad you like the idea. I do find the frozen herbs are useful all year round!
I just wanted to add to the chorus about how awesome this is! I think I'll even use the frozen thyme in the summer because I hate having to pull off the leaves. (I'll still use fresh when I can get away with using sprigs though.)
Stacy you're welcome! So glad it was helpful for you.
Thank you for this! I'm going to freeze my abundant rosemary & thyme today!
I freeze the herbs in bags and then transfer them to jar to store in the freezer. Not sure why the jars would break – my entire freezer is full of nuts, flours, and various types of herbs and seasonings, all frozen in jars. I've never had one break.
How do you freeze them in your canning jars? When I put canning jars in the freezer they break???
Mary, hope you enjoy the frozen rosemary!
I just found your blog this morning. I just cut back my rosemary before transplanting it to move inside for the winter and was wondering what would happen if I froze the sprigs. As usual my first stop was google. I will try freezing what I cut. Thanks for the ideas.
Carol, I've tried freezing swiss chard and kale and can't say I've been thrilled with the results either.