A constant supply of fresh herbs can certainly improve your home cooking, but if you don’t naturally have green fingers you don’t have to be stuck with dried herbs instead, as there are other ways of preserving herbs. Mint is one particularly useful summer herb which can easily be frozen to give you the benefit of fresh mint leaves all year round.
Freezing mint in ice cubes
Freezing mint is a self explanatory way of preserving this herb. Prepare your fresh mint by picking out any damaged leaves and tough stalks. Rinse and gently spin or pat dry the mint leaves you want to freeze. Finely chop the mint leaves and add a teaspoon or two into the compartments in ice cube trays. Fill the tray with water and freeze in the usual way. Once the cubes are fully frozen you can remove them from the trays and store them in the freezer in a plastic tub or air tight freezer bag.
Now you have fresh mint ice cubes available to use in tea, sauce or soup all year round. You can also defrost the mint ice cubes and strain them to remove the liquid and leave only the herb itself if you want to use the in dishes without the water content.
Make a mint iced tea by adding a couple of frozen mint ice cubes to tea while it’s brewing. Allow to cool and serve with plain ice cubes for a refreshing summer drink.
Even better, you can freeze the mint into Mojito ice cubes by adding lime zest, lime juice and a little sugar syrup into the trays with the mint for an instant, icy cocktail – just add them to a glass of fizzy water or rum!
Freezing mint with a vacuum sealer
Preserving mint by the vacuum sealer method retains more colour, flavour and texture than mint ice cubes. You will need a vacuum sealing machine and the appropriate material to make the bags.
Rinse the fresh mint sprigs and gently spin or pat dry to remove as much excess moisture as possible. There’s no need to chop the mint leaves when vacuum sealing but do snip off any tough, woody stalks and damaged leaves. Take enough bag material for the amount of mint you want to freeze, seal one end and label with the date and contents. Place the fresh mint sprigs into the bag and seal the open end in the machine. Lay the bags flat in the freezer until fully frozen, after which they can be stored upright to save space.