Can you freeze mint leaves? Mint is a versatile herb. You can use it in cooking, baking, and for mixing drinks. Mint gives any drink or dishes a delightful zing and we’re happy to report that this herb freezes so well.
In fact, mint leaves can be frozen in several ways. In today’s post, we will be outlining 4 ways of freezing mint leaves. How you like to freeze the herb is entirely up to you! These methods apply to a variety of herbs apart from mint leaves.
Image used under Creative Commons from Marco Verch
Prepping the Mint Leaves for Freezing
To start, always choose the freshest and healthiest mint leaves you can find at your local supermarket or in your garden. Herbs are most intense in flavor during the morning so we recommend freezing the mint leaves at this time.
After picking the best mint leaves you can find, give the herbs a good rinsing but do so gently. Mint leaves are prone to bruising. Remove any wilting leaves and other debris. Once the mint leaves are clean, pat them with a paper towel. If you have time, give them a few minutes to air dry. You want to make sure the herbs are as dry as possible before proceeding to the next step.
Cut the stems of the leaves and set aside. At this point, you can cut the leaves to your desired size. You can also leave them uncut. Now the mint leaves are ready for freezing.
How to Freeze Mint Leaves?
Flash Freezing the Mint Leaves
This is a great freezing method if you are pressed for time and you have no plans of storing the herbs for the long term. Spread the clean and dry mint leaves on a lined tray or baking sheet. Make sure the mint leaves are not touching each other while laying them on the tray. If you are freezing a lot of mint leaves, do this in batches.
Stick the baking sheet or tray in the freezer and leave the herbs to freeze for an hour or two. After an hour or two, take the baking tray out of the freezer and place the frozen mint leaves in a resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing then seal. Write the storage date then stick flat in the freezer.
Freezing the Mint Leaves in Water
This is a great freezing method if you are planning to extend the freshness and color of the leaves. Best used for making drinks too!
After prepping the mint leaves for freezing, you can either chop them roughly or leave them whole. Take out a couple of ice cube trays and with a spoon, spoon the herb bits into each section of the tray. Repeat until all ice cube sections are filled with the mint leaves. Pour a little filtered water into each cube, don’t fill the section to the brim. The mint leaves will float when there’s too much water and you’ll make a mess.
After filling the ice tray with water, stick the trays in the freezer. Leave the herbs to freeze solid for at least 2 hours. Once the herbs are frozen solid, take the tray out of the freezer. Pop the cubed herbs out of the tray and place them gently in a resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing then seal. Write the storage date then stick flat in the freezer.
Image used under Creative Commons from Sprogz
Freezing the Mint Leaves in Oil
This freezing method is perfect for storing herbs to be used for soups, stews, and sauces. You can also use this trick to freeze oregano or thyme.
After prepping the mint leaves for freezing, pop the herb in a food processor, add about ¼ cup of olive oil then pulse to blend until a little chunky. Prepare an ice cube tray. Pour the blended mint leaves into each section of the ice cube tray. Again, do not fill each section to the brim because the blend will overflow, causing a mess.
Once the ice cube tray is filled with the blended mint leaves, put it in the freezer. Leave the herbs to freeze solid for at least 2 hours. Once the herbs are frozen solid, take the tray out of the freezer. Pop the cubed herbs and place them gently in a resealable plastic bag. Work fast because the warmth of your hands will cause the frozen oil to melt.
Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing then seal. Write the storage date then stick flat in the freezer.
Drying and Freezing the Mint Leaves
This technique helps intensify the flavor of the herb while also prolonging its shelf life. After cleaning the herbs, lay the leaves on a microwave-safe tray. Pat the leaves dry or leave them to air dry for at least an hour. Once the herbs are nice and dry, pop the tray in the microwave then nuke on high for 1 to 3 minutes, pausing every 30 seconds to flip each leaf over for even drying.
After the leaves have dried, carefully place them in an airtight, freezer-safe container. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.
Storage and Freezing Tips
Apart from using a microwave to dry the mint leaves, you can also use a food dehydrator. You can also roast the mint leaves in the oven at 170 degrees for 2 to 3 hours until completely dry.
Release the aroma of thawed mint leaves by crushing them between your palms before adding to your favorite dish or drink.
Air-drying the mint leaves prior to packing them for freezing is also a great way to extend the herbs’ shelf life. Just leave the mint leaves to air dry for 1 to 2 weeks then pack for freezing.
Always use distilled or mineral water if you are freezing the mint leaves using water. This minimizes the risk of contamination after thawing.
Image used under Creative Commons from Darya Pino
Shelf Life and Thawing Suggestions
Frozen fresh mint leaves will keep in the freezer for at least 3 months. When dried, dehydrated, or roasted prior to freezing, the herbs will keep for at least 6 months.
There is no need to thaw the mint leaves if used in cooking or as an ingredient in drinks. Just add the frozen herbs directly into the cooking dish and the herb will thaw on their own due to the intense heat. As for the drinks, it’s best to use mint leaves frozen in water or dried mint leaves. Just pop a cubed mint leave in your drink and it will defrost slowly while cooling your drink!
Can you freeze mint leaves? Fresh mint leaves aren’t available all year round so it’s great to know that this herb freezes so well! Any of the freezing methods we’ve outlined above will do regardless of the season. Just choose the method that suits the drink or recipe that you are making!