Mint leaves, whether they be fresh or frozen, are a versatile perennial herb that can be used for many recipes, both sweet and savory.
It has a recognizable, aromatic scent and a very fresh taste that can sometimes be sweet depending on the type.
It is used as an accompaniment flavor to meats such as lamb and chicken.
It is used in various cocktails, such as the popular mojito. It also pairs very well with chocolate and so is used in many desserts as a flavor or garnish.
There are a number of different varieties with the most popular being spearmint and peppermint.
In the garden, they can grow like crazy, and can almost take over your whole herb garden. This means that often we have a lot of mint hanging around - more than we can use sometimes!
Rather than leaving them to wilt and wither in your kitchen, why not freeze them instead?
People often wonder if herbs can be frozen. Mint leaves can be frozen easily and safely.
How to freeze mint leaves
To freeze mint leaves, carefully tear your desired amount of mint leaves from their stems. You should have already prepared a freezer bag, preferably a secure, resealable bag.
The mint leaves should be placed in the bag carefully, as they are quite a delicate little herb. They should all be placed carefully in a single layer, rather than all clumped together on top of one another.
If you have lots of mint leaves to freeze, it is likely that you will need several secure, resealable freezer bags, to ensure everything is spaced out evenly in a single layer.
The bag should be flat with all the air let out of it before sealing and freezing. You should also label and date the mint leaves. You must ensure that you use the mint leaves within six months.
Another method of freezing mint leaves that is very popular is freezing one leaf in an ice cube. For this method, grab an ice cube tray, pop a leaf into each of the cube sections.
Fill them carefully with water as you would for normal ice cubes.
Carefully place the tray into the freezer, where you would usually put your ice cubes.
This method is suitable for drinks recipes that require mint such as a mojito, or for a sauce.
How to defrost mint leaves
There are two main ways to defrost mint leaves, and it depends on exactly what you will be using the mint for.
If you plan to use the mint as a garnish or in a salad, then the mint will need to be taken out of the freezer a few hours before you plan to use it. We recommend around two or three hours at least to ensure it fully defrosts.
To do this properly, grab a plate large enough to spread them all out evenly. Place some paper towels or other absorbent sheets of kitchen roll on top of the plate.
Place the mint leaves one by one on the plate, spreading them out if possible (they should easily come out of the freezer bag provided they were frozen according to our earlier instructions).
When they are all on the plate, you may want to cover the plate loosely with some wrap or another paper towel or sheet of kitchen roll. This will all help to soak up the water that comes from the mint as it thaws.
After the two or three hours are finished, you should dab each of the mint leaves very gently to ensure they don’t break as they will be even more fragile after being frozen and defrosted. Dabbing them will ensure they are totally dry and ready to be used in your salad or as a garnish.
The other option for defrosting is suitable if you are adding the mint leaves into a recipe that will be warmed or cooked. For this method, you should remove the mint leaves that you want from the freezer bag, taking care to do so gently.
You should then add them right into your recipe as they are. For example, if using them in a sauce, you can drop them right into the sauce itself. If you like, you can chop them first.
They should chop easily even when frozen. If you have mint that has been frozen into ice cubes, you can simply add the ice cube into your drink or desired recipe and it will melt the water around it, leaving the mint leaf.
Factors to consider before freezing mint leaves
The most important factor to consider is the freshness of the mint leaves before you attempt to freeze them. We recommend that you freeze your mint leaves as quickly as possible or else you risk them becoming rancid.
Rancid mint leaves would develop an unpleasant taste and could be very dry or even get soft and discolored. If your mint looks like this it's too late, it has already turned bad and should not be frozen.
Another factor to consider before freezing mint leaves is what you will be using them for. If it is for a drink or frozen dessert, the ice cube freezing method may be more suitable.
If you plan to use them as a garnish you should freeze them whole, following the resealable freezer bag method, ensuring they are spaced apart evenly in a single layer.
If you know you want to use chopped mint leaves, you can chop them whilst they are fresh and then use either the ice cube method or the freezer bag method, depending on what you will use them for when the time comes.
To conclude, the answer to whether you can freeze mint leaves is yes, absolutely!
They can safely be frozen for a variety of lovely recipes using a number of suitable freezing methods.
Remember to follow our guidelines for safe freezing and defrosting, and remember to consider factors such as the freshness of your mint leaves and the use of them before you do so.