Mint is a popular herb that is widely used in cooking, drinks, beauty products, and more. Its refreshing flavor and aroma make it a versatile ingredient to have on hand. While mint is easy to find fresh, you may wonder if you can freeze it to preserve it for longer storage.
Why freeze mint?
Freezing mint is an excellent way to extend its shelf life, so you can enjoy its flavor year-round. Here are some key reasons to freeze mint:
Preserve freshness: Freezing helps retain the flavor, color, and nutrients of fresh mint for several months. The cold temperature prevents spoilage.
Accessibility: Frozen mint gives you easy access to the herb whenever you need it, even when it’s out of season. You don’t have to worry about keeping a mint plant alive indoors in the winter.
Avoid waste: Buying fresh mint can lead to waste if you can’t use it all before it goes bad. Freezing preserves the harvest and avoids waste.
Convenience: Having frozen mint on hand makes it easy to add its flavor to recipes, drinks, and other uses on short notice. It’s pre-prepared and ready to use.
Versatility: Frozen mint retains its bold, refreshing flavor when thawed, so you can use it in any application fresh mint is good for.
How to Freeze Mint
Freezing mint is simple and just takes a few steps:
Wash and dry.
Start by washing the mint thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris. Gently swish the leaves and stems in a bowl of cool water, then drain well. Spread the mint out on paper towels and pat off as much moisture as possible.
Remove from stems
The stems don’t freeze well, so you’ll get better results by stripping the leaves off before freezing. Hold each stem at the top and run your fingers down the stalk to remove the leaves. Discard the stems.
For easier use, you may want to chop the clean, dry leaves into smaller pieces. This allows you to measure out what you need straight from the freezer. Chop to your desired size.
Pack in airtight containers.
Put the mint in freezer bags, plastic containers, or airtight vessels. Press it down gently and remove any extra air. This prevents freezer burn. Label with the date and type of mint.
Put the containers of prepped mint into the freezer right away. Place them flat on a shelf rather than upright, so they freeze faster. Frozen mint keeps best at 0°F or below.
Tip: Consider freezing mint in ice cube trays with a bit of water. Once frozen, you can pop the cubes out and store them in bags. Then grab a cube whenever you need some mint!
Frozen Mint Storage Time
Properly frozen mint keeps well for 6 to 12 months. Over time, it may start to suffer freezer burn or lose flavor, potency, and aroma.
For best quality and flavor, try to use frozen mint within this timeline:
Mint leaves or cubes: 6 to 12 months
Mint paste: 4 to 6 months
Mint tea: 6 months
Thaw frozen mint leaves in the refrigerator overnight when ready to use. Alternatively, place the cubes or leaves into a sealed bag and run under cool water to thaw. Use immediately after thawing.
Can you freeze mint paste?
Yes, you can freeze mint paste too! This is great for having the intense, concentrated flavor of mint on hand whenever you need it.
To make and freeze mint paste:
Wash and dry fresh mint leaves thoroughly.
Place the leaves in a food processor or blender. Pulse to finely chop.
Add a bit of extra virgin olive oil, about 1 tablespoon per cup of packed mint. Process into a paste.
Scoop the paste into ice cube trays or a freezer-safe container, packing it down well and smoothing the top. Cover tightly.
Freeze for up to 4 to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before use.
The oil helps retain the bright green color and flavor of the mint paste when frozen. Use the paste to flavor desserts, drinks, salads, soups, and more!
Can you freeze mint tea?
You sure can! Freezing mint tea makes enjoying this refreshing beverage easy at any time. Here’s how:
Brew a strong batch of mint tea using your favorite mint variety. Allow it to cool.
Pour the mint tea into ice cube trays or freezable molds. Leave a little headspace for expansion.
Freeze the tea until solid cubes form, about 24 hours.
Pop out the frozen tea cubes and transfer them to an airtight freezer bag.
To serve: Add 2 to 3 frozen mint tea cubes to hot water for instant mint tea! The ice cubes dilute as they melt. Sweeten and add lemon if desired.
Frozen mint tea cubes retain full flavor for about 6 months. They’re a great way to preserve your mint tea harvest!
What Not to Do When Freezing Mint
Avoid these common mistakes when freezing mint so you don’t compromise the texture and flavor:
Do not freeze mint with the stems attached. Stems easily turn limp and black.
Avoid freezing wet or damp mint leaves. Moisture causes the leaves to clump and stick together.
Do not use zip-top bags that are opened and closed repeatedly. This introduces too much air over time.
Avoid overfilling containers. Pack mint lightly so air can properly circulate.
Do not thaw and refreeze mint. This significantly reduces flavor potency.
Possible Changes to Frozen Mint
Freezing mint does change it somewhat from its peak fresh state. Keep these possible changes in mind:
Color: The bright green color of mint may dull slightly after thawing.
Texture: Frozen mint can be a little softer and more delicate than fresh.
Flavor: Some subtle nuances in flavor are lost, but the main mint notes still come through.
While not identical to fresh, frozen mint still offers that unmistakable cooling, minty kick. A small sacrifice for having its convenience year-round!
5 Delicious Ways to Use Frozen Mint
Ready to put that frozen mint stash to use? Try these simple ideas:
Make frozen mint tea. Steep 2 to 3 cubes of frozen tea in hot water for an instant pick-me-up anytime.
Blend into smoothies: Add a few cubes or leaves to fruit smoothies for a refreshing flavor boost.
Toss into salads: Thaw some leaves to mix into fruit, green, potato, or grain salads.
Mix it into lemonade or iced tea. Thawed mint adds a perfect pop of flavor to cold drinks.
Create mint syrup. Simmer the water, sugar, and mint leaves, then strain. Mix with cocktails or desserts.
Don’t limit yourself; use that stored mint for everything from jams and salsas to desserts, meat rubs, and beyond!
What’s the best way to thaw frozen mint?
For maximum preservation of flavor and texture, thaw frozen mint overnight in the refrigerator. You can also submerge the sealed bag of leaves or cubes under cool running water. Use immediately.
Freezing is an incredibly useful way to extend the lifespan of fresh mint, so you can enjoy its taste and aromas for months to come. Follow proper technique for cleaning, packaging, and freezing, and be sure to label your frozen mint so you know what variety it is and when it was harvested.
Keep your freezer stocked with mint so you can easily add its refreshing flavor to drinks and recipes. Experiment with different freezing methods to find what works best for your needs!
Frequently Asked Questions
How many mint leaves can be frozen at a time?
It’s best to freeze mint leaves in smaller quantities, like 1 cup, rather than freezing a huge bulk amount at once. This helps prevent them from freezing together in a clump.
Can you freeze mint in ice cube trays?
Absolutely! Freezing chopped mint or mint tea in ice cube trays makes for easy, portioned use straight from the freezer at any time.
Is frozen mint as strong as fresh mint?
Frozen mint may lose a very subtle degree of its potency and flavor nuance, but it remains quite strong, pungent, and refreshing when thawed.
Can frozen mint be refrozen after thawing?
It’s best not to refreeze thawed mint leaves. Refreezing causes more deterioration in flavor, aroma, and texture. Use thawed mint immediately.
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.