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Save leftover herbs by freezing them in ice cube trays

Stop throwing away your unused fresh herbs. Before they start to wilt, use this tip to preserve them for months.

Taylor Martin/CNET

When it comes to fresh herbs, there are several ways to prolong their shelf life. For instance, you can keep herbs like chives, cilantro, green onions or parsley fresh longer by storing them in a jar filled with water, covering them with plastic and sealing it with a rubber band.

Still, this will only stretch out their shelf life by a few weeks, at most. What do you do if you can't possibly use that large bundle of cilantro from the market or all the rosemary from your herb garden?

Rather than waiting a few weeks and inevitably tossing them, "The One Pot Chef" has another brilliant kitchen tip for saving leftover herbs -- throw them in the freezer.

Sounds easy enough, right? Well, there's a catch. You will need three things:

  • An ice cube tray
  • Cooking oil (olive, grape seed, canola, etc.)
  • Zip-top bags

This trick requires quite a bit of oil. I bought a 500-milliliter bottle and used a little over half for one ice cube tray, though I did go heavy on the oil for a few of the molds. You can expect to use about 250 milliliters per standard ice cube tray.

Saving leftover herbs

Not all herbs freeze well by themselves. Suspending them oil not only helps in the freezing process, but it can help when it's time to cook, as well. For this trick, you will be dividing up the herbs into single-use cubes that are ready to be cooked.

  • Chop your leftover herbs and divide them into the individual molds in the ice cube tray.
  • Top each mold off with a cooking oil of your choice. Dosing and proportions are entirely up to you.
  • Once you've finished divvying up all the herbs, place the tray in the freezer for several hours.
  • After the oil has fully frozen, break the cubes out of the tray, place them in a zip-top bag and store in the freezer until you're ready to cook with them again. If you froze more than one herb, place different herbs into separate zip-top bags.

When you're ready to cook with the herbs, toss one of the cubes in a sauce pan. The oil will quickly melt and your herbs are already added.

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