Mint is an herb that’s has a lot of use in the kitchen. Mint leaves are used in drinks like a mojito to give that hint of a fresh minty taste. In food, you can make soups and stews with mint. One problem with mint leaves is their short life once it’s harvested. Therefore, mint leaves are best when it’s used right away after being picked from the garden. If you want to store them for several months, you’ll need to keep them somewhere cool.
So can you freeze mint leaves? Mint leaves can be frozen and they actually freeze very well. In the freezer, you can expect them to remain fresh for up to 6 months. They will need to use the flash freezing or ice cube method to preserve their taste and texture.
Does Mint Freeze Well?
Due to their size and texture, mint is one of those herbs that freeze very well in the freezer. This is great for those who enjoy mint in their foods throughout the year.
By freezing mint leaves, it gives you the opportunity to use mint during the winter months when it’s isn’t available.
Start freezing them before the summer months are over and you’ll have fresh mint to use during the winter. Since these herbs will last for a long time in the freezer, freezing a lot of mint leaves should get be plenty until it’s available in the spring again.
How to Freeze Mint Leaves
When it comes to freezing mint leaves, you have several options to choose from. The option you choose will depend on what you’ll be using them for.
Before freezing them, the herbs will all need to be as fresh as possible. The fresher they are, the longer they will stay fresh in the freezer. Picking them from the garden right before you freeze them is the best way to go.
Below are the different methods of freezing mint leaves. Each will have instructions on how to prepare them for the freezer so they’ll last as long as possible.
Freezing Fresh Mint Leaves
This is the quickest way to freeze the mint leaves. However, they tend to last only 3 months in the freezer. Make sure to use them within that time or they’ll lose their flavoring and texture.
- Put the mint into a colander and rinse them with clean water.
- Once it’s cleaned, let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes to drip dry.
- Use a paper towel to dap the mint to remove any excess water.
- Gently pick each leaf from the stem and place it into a freezer bag.
- Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing the bag.
- Label the bag with a date and place it into the freezer.
Flash Freezing Fresh Mint Leaves
This method is for those who are planning on using mint leaves often and using them for preparing foods. Flash freezing will also prevent their taste and texture from being damaged while in the freezer.
- Start by cleaning the mint leaves with clean water. Make sure to remove all debris and dirt that’s on the leaves.
- Leave them in a colander for about 10 minutes and let it drip dry.
- Take a paper towel and gently press on the leaves to absorb excess water.
- Gently remove each leaf from the stem of the herb.
- On a clean tray, lay a sheet of baking paper or wax paper.
- Place the leaves onto the tray making sure they are evenly spaced out.
- Once the tray is filled, put the tray into the freezer.
- Flash freeze them for about 1 to 2 hours.
- Once it’s completely frozen, take the tray out from the freezer.
- Immediately transfer the frozen mint leaves to an airtight container. You can use a freezer bag too, but it’s not recommended as the herbs may break while in the freezer.
- Once the container is filled, seal it tightly.
- Label the container with a date and place it back into the freezer.
Freeze Mint Leaves In Ice Cube Trays
This method is great for those who are planning to add it to smoothies, dipping sauces, and drinks. Great way to add that mint flavor to the food.
- Pick each leaf off the stems of the mint. Throw away those that are damaged or have black spots on them.
- In a colander, put the mint leaves in there and thoroughly wash them.
- If you have a salad spinner, you can use it to dry them. If not, a paper towel will work fine. Simply dab the mint leaves until it’s dry.
- Leave them for about 10 minutes to let any excess water evaporate from the leaves.
- In a clean ice cube tray, lay about 5 to 7 leaves in each slot. You can push them down, but not too hard as it may damage the leaves.
- Once all the slots are filled, gently pour clean water into each slot. Make sure the leaves are completely submerged in the water.
- Place the tray in the freezer and let them sit for a couple of hours.
- Once the mint leaves are completely frozen, you can leave them in the freezer as is or transfer them to a freezer bag.
- If placing them in the freezer bag, make sure to transfer the mint ice cube from the tray to the bag immediately.
- Remove as much air as you can from the bag and seal it tightly.
- Label the bag with a date and place it back in the freezer.
How Long Can You Freeze Mint Leaves?
Mint leaves will stay fresh for up to 6 months in the freezer. This is if it’s you’ve used the flash freezing method or freezing them in an ice cube.
If you’re freezing mint leaves fresh without using one of the prepping methods above, they will last no longer than 3 months.
However, the herbs will still be safe to eat or used for cooking. After that time, mint leaves will start to degrade slowly. The taste and flavors of the herb will be noticeable.
Due to their short shelf life, it’s recommended to always label the mint leaves so you’ll know when they are still fresh or needs to be thrown away.
How Do You Defrost Mint Leaves?
Due to their small size, mint leaves don’t really need to be defrosted. These herbs will instantly melt when it’s added to a meal that’s being cooked.
For ice cube mint leaves, they too don’t need defrosting. Simply prepare your favorite drinks and just add the mint ice cubes to it. This will give you both that fresh minty flavor and will chill your drink at the same time.
If you do need to thaw them, simply put them in the refrigerator to let them defrost. Leaving them out at room temperature to thaw could cause them to lose their mint flavor.
Make sure to use mint that has thawed within a couple of hours. Any longer will cause them to lose their flavor and texture.
Can Frozen Mint Leaves Go Bad?
Frozen mint leaves can go bad if it’s left in the freezer for too long or if it’s thawed and not used within a certain time period.
Mint will usually stay fresh for up to 6 months in the freezer. If it’s any longer, the quality of it will start to decrease. This is due to the freezer burn on the herbs. The longer it’s in the freezer, the higher the chances of it getting damaged due to freezer burn.
Usually, after a year, it’s best to just throw the herbs out. At this point, the mint leaves will be severely damaged that they’ll look just like a piece of an ice block.
Another way frozen mint leaves can go bad is when it’s thawed. Due to their texture and small size, mint leaves thaw rather quickly. Once it does, you’ll only have a couple of hours to use them. If not used with that time, the herbs will just sit in a puddle of water and become soft and mushy.
Can you freeze mint sauce?
Mint sauce can be frozen and it’s a great way to preserve their freshness for many months. You’ll need an ice cube tray to freeze them. Simply pour the mint sauce into the ice cube tray, filling each slot. Once it’s filled, put them into the freezer for a couple of hours. Once it’s completely frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag. Label the bag and put them back in the freezer.
Can you freeze mint stem?
You definitely can freeze the stems of the mint. The stems will freeze just like the leaves. The best part of all, the stem has just as much mint flavor as the leaves. Therefore, feel free to freeze the entire mint herbs.