Freeze Dry Herbs and Spices to Preserve the Flavor and Potency

Herbs and spices play a crucial role in cooking, adding unique flavors, aromas, and even visual appeal with their colors.  In the category of nutraceuticals, it may even confer health benefits for preppers who may not have access to modern medical chemistry.  Since these fresh ingredients don't last long, they need to be preserved properly to keep their health benefits, taste, smell, and appearance.

Freeze-drying is a method that removes water from foods, allowing them to be stored for a long time without changing their taste, smell, or texture.  For herbs and spices, freeze-drying is a great way to keep their natural flavors and aromas.

Freeze-drying process

This process is carried out in three stages, which might vary slightly depending on the technique, but looks essentially like this:

  • Freezing: The items are frozen to a temperature as low as -40 °C/°F;
  • Vacuum: A fairly hard vacuum is created to power the water-removal process;
  • Sublimation: The water (ice) contained in the food is then sublimated, going directly from a solid to gas, so it can be efficiently removed without harming the item.

This gentle process keeps the molecular structure of the food intact, so herbs and spices retain their natural flavor and aroma, even after years of storage.

Benefits of Freeze-drying herbs and spices

Freeze-dried herbs and spices offer several benefits compared to fresh ones.  First, they can last for several years, while fresh herbs and spices only stay that way for a few days at best.  The freeze-drying process quickly and efficiently removes moisture from the food, preventing the growth of microorganisms and stopping oxidation.  This means freeze-dried herbs and spices keep their natural flavor and aroma for a long time.

And, of course, freeze-dried herbs and spices are a great option for chefs, giving them access to the equivalent of fresh herbs and spices all year round.  They are also beneficial for home cooks, preppers, restaurant operators, and anyone who wants to keep herbs and spices in good condition for long periods of time.


Freeze-dried herbs and spices are convenient to use since they can be added directly to dishes without needing to be rehydrated.  As well, any of the benefits from their nutraceutical properties aren’t diminished when they are freeze-dried.

There are very few limits on what you can preserve.  Just about any herb you can harvest, like oregano, parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, mint, sage and more, can be freeze-dried.  The same can be said for spices like paprika peppers, cumin, turmeric, ginger, and if you’re generous with the word spice, garlic, bay leaves, and even chili peppers.  While you can’t grow cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves at home, (since they’re all found on trees between 20 and 60 feet, or 6-20 meters tall), you can still make sure that what you buy stays ready for use for a decade!

What Are You Preserving with Freeze-Drying?

All these things contain essential oils, which are volatile chemical compounds found in our chosen plants because they provide them with that characteristic flavor and aroma that we love.  Preserving these compounds with any other method can be challenging due to their sensitivity to temperature, light, and oxygen—but not with freeze-drying.  That is how you will perfectly capture those essences.

The Takeaway

With a no-heat process, you don’t damage the material.  By removing water, put them in “suspended animation”, stopping organic processes (microorganisms) that can deteriorate the food.

Freeze-drying is a great way to be self-reliant, save money, and be ready for whatever happens.  You can have instant glorious meals when unexpected guests show up, or food enough to last when the next coronal mass ejection from the Sun turns off all the electrical grid for a few years while we rebuild!  You’re ready for anything!  So, let’s freeze dry!

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