When I look at my balcony, something is becoming more and more obvious every day. It's autumn - and the balcony season is drawing to a close.
Now is the time to harvest and use my herbs.
However, as I have more herbs than I can use in the foreseeable future, I tend to freeze them and then for the whole of winter I can still enjoy a little bit of that balcony feeling when I'm cooking.
It's quite simple to freeze herbs and there are only a few things that you need to keep in mind.
After harvesting the herbs, briefly wash them under flowing, lukewarm water. This removes any dirt or small insects.
Next, carefully pat the herbs dry with a tea towel.
Cut or chop the herbs finely and portion them into an ice cube tray. Add a little water to the herbs (mixture ratio: 2/3 herbs to 1/3 water).
Then put them in the freezer.
I leave the herbs in the freezer for one day and then transfer them to another freezer-proof container. This means that I always have pre-portioned herbs to hand and can use my ice cube tray for the next load of herbs, for instance.
Always remember to freeze the herbs quickly once they have been chopped up, as otherwise they lose their flavour very quickly.
Frozen herbs will keep for around six months and, for me, they are a life-saver pretty much up until the next balcony season.
With some herbs, freezing becomes a bit more complicated. With basil, for example, it depends on the variety. If you want to play it safe, you can simply freeze it in oil. With this approach, simply replace the 1/3 water with 1/3 unflavoured, high-quality oil or a good olive oil.
However, when you freeze in oil, you will need to keep the herbs in the ice cube tray instead of transferring them to another freezer-proof container. This is because oil doesn't freeze as such; it simply becomes viscous.
The following herbs are not suitable for freezing (with either water or oil), as they easily lose their flavour when frozen: thyme, oregano.