Rosemary is a pungent herb that is traditionally used in stews and on roasted vegetables. You won’t be able to get just one sprig at the grocery store. Usually, you will have to buy considerably more than you need. Similarly, you may find that you have cut more from the bush than you require if you are growing it in your garden. In either case, you should keep it from going to waste. So, can you freeze rosemary as a way to preserve the extra?
Rosemary is a woody herb, which means that it can stand up to low temperatures better than herbs with soft stems. The Alcalde and Arp varieties are among the rosemary cultivars that can tolerate below-zero temperatures. Frozen rosemary will be good for about a year. It will still be usable after that, but the flavor won’t be ideal. Use it within three months of freezing to get the best quality.
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Before freezing rosemary
Look for the freshest rosemary for freezing, whether you are getting it at the grocery store or from your garden. Rosemary that has been frozen and then thawed won’t taste as good as it did when fresh, no matter which method you use to freeze it. The freezing and thawing process causes it to start losing flavor and scent quickly, which is why you should avoid re-freezing rosemary. Starting with the freshest ensures that you will get the best possible flavor when it’s time to use it.
Wash and dry your rosemary before you do anything else with it.
Method 1: Place rosemary sprigs into resealable bags and place them in the freezer
Simply tossing rosemary sprigs into bags and then into the freezer is the fastest option for freezing the herb. But you run the risk of the frozen rosemary sticking together, which means that you may have to thaw out more rosemary than you need to get the right amount for a recipe.
Method 2: Flash freeze rosemary by placing the sprigs on a baking sheet
Flash freezing allows you to freeze rosemary in individual portions so that you only need to thaw out what your dish requires, which helps you to avoid waste.
Spread out the sprigs so that they don’t touch. Place the baking sheet in the freezer so that it stays level and keep it there for a few hours. Bag up the frozen rosemary sprigs separately and store them in the freezer until you need them. Alternatively, you can easily remove the frozen leaves and discard the stems.
Method 3: Freeze rosemary in an ice cube tray by placing rosemary leaves in the compartments
You want each compartment to be about 2/3 full. Pour in some olive oil to take up the rest of the space. Place the ice cube tray in the freezer until the cubes are solid, then take them out and bag them up in a resealable bag. If you need to add rosemary to a stew or soup, just add one or more of the cubes. Alternatively, you can melt a cube if you need rosemary and oil as a flatbread topping.
Thawing frozen rosemary
Don’t expect thawed rosemary to last more than a week, even in the refrigerator. Fresh rosemary can last up to two weeks. Thaw frozen rosemary by placing it in the refrigerator overnight. If you need it in less time, you can put the bag in some warm water.
Rosemary that has been frozen may not look as colorful as fresh rosemary. Use frozen rosemary in stews and other long-cooking dishes where it will be added at the start of cooking. It will be difficult to tell the difference between fresh and frozen rosemary after hours of cooking.