Can you freeze Rosemary? Freezing methods

Rosemary must be the most popular herb of all time. It is excellent with pork, chicken, and lamb. You can make Rosemary tea, and if you grow Rosemary in your garden, you will know how irresistible it is to touch to release its fragrance over your hands. Rosemary has more medicinal properties than any vegetable, but how can you enjoy it all year round?

Rosemary has been used since the Romans for culinary use and medicine. It is awesome at reducing inflammation and can help with various ailments to improve your quality of life. Did you know a scientific study showed those who rubbed Rosemary oil on the scalp had a 44% increase in hair growth?

In this article, we unveil the secrets of Rosemary, mainly how to keep it as a herb for adding to your food the whole year round. We answer many frequently asked questions to provide factual information to improve your culinary skills.

Let’s get into it.

Does Rosemary expire?

Yes, it does. Rosemary leaves look really hardy, as if they could withstand anything, and on the plant, they almost can, but when picked, Rosemary starts to lose its resilience.

In the kitchen, Rosemary will dry and lose its aromatics. The smell in the kitchen will be incredible but short-lived. If left out, fresh sprigs of Rosemary will last 7 to 10 days. After this, they become slimy and have a visually unappealing appearance.

You can place Rosemary in the fridge or keep it in the crisper drawer. In the fridge, the Rosemary will last for about two weeks, depending on its freshness.

Make sure the Rosemary is kept dry in the fridge. Store it in a paper bag with the opening open to allow for airflow.

If the Rosemary does become moist, it will expedite the decaying process.

There are many ways to store Rosemary in the kitchen. You can strip the leaves from the stalk and lightly toast them in the frying pan without oil.

Toasting will dry the leaves and make them friable (brittle ) after frying or toasting without oil. You can add them to a small jar and seal and place them in the fridge.

You can toast a whole sprig of Rosemary and then drop it into a bottle of olive oil. The flavor infusion is impressive as the oil preserves the Rosemary, and the Rosemary imparts its flavor into the oil.

You may have guessed that Rosemary is so versatile in the kitchen that it can be frozen successfully But more about that later.

Does Rosemary need to be refrigerated?

Rosemary does like to be cool so refrigerating the herb is logical. Store fresh Rosemary at 35℉. You can place it in a Ziploc bag or a paper bag with the end open so there is airflow. Placing it in the crisper may be the best location for the Rosemary.

However, a sprig of Rosemary will stand in the kitchen for seven days, so if you have an abundance of Rosemary, there is no need to refrigerate the herb.

The problem with Rosemary in most kitchens is that it’s either picked or bought from a store for one meal, which means you often have more Rosemary than you need.

A better solution is needed to store Rosemary for the long term.

Does Rosemary need to be covered?

If you have a sprig from a garden, it’s supper fresh and lasts for seven days in the kitchen and two weeks in the fridge.

If you grow Rosemary, you will know it is abundant and has to be pruned back before it takes over the garden, so pulling a sprig or two for your meal is fine, and if it is discarded, it has done its job adding flavor to the meal.

If you don’t grow Rosemary, you may not be able to get hold of it all year round, so taking care of this herb becomes more important. Covering the Rosemary in the fridge is not a requirement, but it will keep it dry and away from moisture.

Fresh Rosemary stored in the fridge has a decent shelf life but needs to be used within two weeks before the Rosemary expires and is discarded.

Can you put warm Rosemary in the fridge?

It may seem like a dumb question, but if you take a step back, it is part of your meal. Maybe you have warm Rosemary on the leftovers of your lamb dinner. So can it be placed in the fridge while warm?

The answer is no, and it is not just about Rosemary. It’s about the whole meal that contains Rosemary, from soups to the family roast. Placing warm food in the fridge is a bad idea.

If you read online that you can’t put a warm roast in the fridge because of condensation coalescing into water droplets that will drip and make your roast soggy and less appealing at best is why you can’t put the warm roast lamb in the fridge, you are being misled.

Your fridge temperature will be 40℉ -18℃ or a little lower. Placing a warm chicken in the fridge will elevate its temperature while it radiates heat.

Your fridge may not be as efficient as you might have thought at removing heat. Most fridges take hours to come to 40℉ after being switched on after cleaning.

So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that food sitting at a temperature of 40-140℉ is in the food danger zone. It’s not just your chicken. It is the contents of the entire fridge.

Above 40℉-18℃ bacterial growth on perishable foods will accelerate exponentially. It should be discarded if the food remains at an elevated temperature above 40℉-18℃ for just two hours.

Seems harsh? According to the USDA, after two hours in the food danger zone, perishable foods contain enough bacteria to cause food poisoning.

How long can Rosemary sit out?

Rosemary can sit out independently and not be bothered by criteria until it expires. But if you have a meal that includes Rosemary, then it’s a different subject, and Rosemary sitting out will have a life of two hours as part of a recipe.

Two hours. Remember the food danger zone? According to the USDA, perishable goods sitting out for two hours should be discarded, and the bacteria growth on the food has multiplied rapidly, making the food unfit for consumption.

Eating food sitting out for two hours or more could cause food poisoning.

This will only apply if Rosemary is part of the recipe.

How long can Rosemary last in the fridge?

The Rosemary will last for two weeks if stored in a cool fridge. It’s the same for store-bought and Rosemary fresh from the garden.

It’s a good idea to keep the Rosemary dry. It needs to be washed and dried. You can flick off the excess water and then leave the Rosemary on the side to dry off before placing it in a paper bag or ziplock in the crisper. Some say to wrap a damp paper towel. This method does not extend the life and encourages the leaves to soften and decay.

Does frozen Rosemary go bad?

It will lose all of its properties over time. But the good news is you can freeze Rosemary for six months, and it will remain at its peak quality.

Freezing Rosemary is easy. The fresher the Rosemary, the better it will be, but if you have store-bought Rosemary, you can freeze it successfully.

Here are three methods you can choose to freeze Rosemary in your kitchen.

Method 1: Freezing long stems of Rosemary

  • If you have long stems, there is no need to chop them up. Wash the stems and dry them, so they do not retain water.
  • Select the sealable freezer bag you will be using. The stems will need to fit inside the bag so trim them at this point.
  • Wrap each stem in cling wrap. You can wrap it twice if you wish or once.
  • Place each stem into the bag and remove as much air from the Ziploc bag as possible to help prevent freezer burn.
  • Seal the bag and mark the bag with the freezing date and the expiry date.
  • Place in the freezer.

Method 2: Freeze shorter stems of Rosemary

  • Assuming the Rosemary stems are clean and dry, chop them into individual pieces, maybe half stems.
  • Place on a baking tray, so the stems are not touching.
  • Put the freezing tray in the freezer for two hours.
  • Retrieve the stems, and they should be frozen solid. 
  • Place the stems in a freezer bag (they will not refreeze into one big piece), remove as much air as possible, and seal the bag.
  • Mark the bags with the freezing date and expiration date and freeze.

Method 3: Freezing the Rosemary leaves

  • Wash the Rosemary and then dry it using a flicking motion to remove the water. Now run your fingers down the stems and remove the leaves. Pat dry the leaves if necessary.
  • Place the leaves into an ice cube container or plastic egg container. Fill each receptacle and compress the leaves with your fingers, leaving some space.
  • Cover with your favorite oil and place in the freezer.

Final thoughts

Rosemary is a beautiful herb, and there is no need to waste it. You can buy a larger batch from the store and freeze it for up to six months. Beyond six months, it is still usable but may have lost some aromas.

Rosemary has a shelf life of two weeks in the fridge and one week sitting on the side.

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