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Can You Freeze Rosemary?

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Rosemary is a versatile and aromatic herb that is a staple in many cuisines. Its pine-like flavor pairs well with meats, vegetables, and even desserts.

Fresh rosemary can be hard to find year-round, so many cooks opt to freeze rosemary for longer storage. But can you freeze rosemary successfully?

The short answer is yes; you can freeze rosemary. When frozen properly, rosemary retains much of its signature flavor and aroma. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about freezing rosemary.

How to Freeze Rosemary

Freezing rosemary is simple and requires minimal preparation. Here are some tips for freezing rosemary properly:

  • Wash the rosemary. Give fresh rosemary sprigs a gentle wash under cool water to remove any dirt or debris. Allow it to fully dry before freezing.
  • Remove leaves from stems. Strip the rosemary leaves from the woody stems before freezing. The stems can be bitter when frozen.
  • Chop or mince leaves. Chopped or minced rosemary freezes more efficiently than whole leaves. Choose your desired texture.
  • Portion it into freezer bags or containers. Place measured amounts of chopped rosemary into freezer bags, plastic containers, or ice cube trays. Avoid overstuffing.
  • Label and date. Note the type of herb and freezing date on your freezer packaging.
  • Freeze. Place bags or containers of rosemary in the freezer. Lay flat if possible.

Proper freezing techniques are key for retaining flavor and quality. Excess air exposure can cause freezer burns. Freezing rosemary in oil is not recommended, as the oil can go rancid. Blanching rosemary before freezing is also unnecessary.

How long does frozen rosemary last?

When stored at 0°F or below, frozen rosemary will last approximately 6–12 months, depending on preparation.

Follow these tips for maximizing frozen rosemary’s shelf life:

  • Use high-quality rosemary to start. Discard any browned or limp herbs.
  • Portion rosemary in quantities you’ll use up quickly. Avoid repeated thawing.
  • Use freezer bags or airtight containers. Minimize air exposure.
  • Label bags with the date. Use within a year for the best flavor.
  • Maintain a consistent freezer temperature of 0°F or below. Avoid temperature fluctuations.

Monitor frozen rosemary for signs of freezer burn, moisture loss, or mold. Discard if any appear. For longer storage, consider vacuum-sealing bags. With proper freezing and storage methods, rosemary can retain its potency for up to a year when frozen.

Can you freeze rosemary in oil?

Freezing rosemary in oil is generally not recommended. Here’s why:

  • Botulism risk: Freezing herbs in oil increases the risk of botulism, a dangerous type of food poisoning. Frozen oils provide an oxygen-free environment where botulism toxin can grow.
  • Rancidity: Olive or vegetable oils can quickly go rancid when frozen. The moisture and cold temperature hasten spoilage.
  • Lack of flavor release: frozen oils prevent herbs from releasing their flavorful oils during cooking, resulting in dull flavor.
  • Texture issues: frozen oils may coat herbs in a slippery film and impact texture.

For safety and quality, it’s best to freeze rosemary plain and add oil during cooking or serving as needed. Other herb freezing options include freezer bags, ice cube trays, vinegar, broth, or a splash of water. Avoid immersing yourself in large amounts of oil.

What’s the Best Way to Use Frozen Rosemary?

Frozen rosemary is versatile. It can be used in place of fresh in most recipes. Here are some of the best ways to use thawed, frozen rosemary:

  • Add to soups, stews, or casseroles. Toss in early to infuse flavor.
  • Mix into marinades, sauces, and vinaigrettes. Great for meat or vegetables.
  • Sprinkle on pizza, flatbreads, and focaccia with olive oil.
  • Toss with roasted veggies like potatoes, carrots, or green beans.
  • Add to bread or biscuit doughs for savory flavor.
  • Skewer with shrimp, chicken, or lean meat before grilling or baking.
  • Use it to infuse flavor into oils or vinegars. Then strain out the rosemary.
  • Craft creative compound butters by mixing them with soft butter.

Avoid using large amounts of frozen rosemary in uncooked preparations, as the flavor can concentrate excessively during freezing. Start with smaller amounts and increase to taste. The options are endless for infusing recipes with frozen rosemary!

Frequently Asked Questions About Freezing Rosemary

Freezing herbs like rosemary can have a learning curve. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Can you freeze rosemary without blanching it?

Yes, blanching is not necessary when freezing rosemary. Blanching can actually cause flavor loss. Simply chop and portion rosemary for freezing.

Should you rinse rosemary before freezing?

Yes, rosemary should be gently rinsed to remove any dirt or debris before freezing. Allow rosemary to fully dry before freezing for the best results.

Is it better to freeze rosemary dry or in water?

The best method is to freeze rosemary dry in freezer bags or containers. Adding a small amount of water can help prevent freezer burn but is not required.

Can frozen rosemary be substituted 1:1 for fresh?

Yes, frozen rosemary can replace fresh in equal amounts in most recipes. Adjust to taste, as freezing may slightly concentrate flavor.

How do you store frozen rosemary cubes?

Rosemary cubes can be stored together loosely in a freezer bag or separately in an ice cube tray covered with plastic wrap. Transfer them to a freezer bag after they are fully frozen.

Should you remove rosemary stems before freezing?

Yes, strip leaves from woody stems before freezing. Stems can make frozen rosemary bitter. Discard the stems before freezing.

Can you freeze rosemary butter?

Yes, blending rosemary into butter is a great way to freeze it. Allow the butter to thaw before using to evenly distribute the rosemary flavor.


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