How To Freeze Dry Chives

how to freeze dry chives banner with text

Freeze Dried Herbs & Spices

Freeze-drying herbs help preserve their flavor much better than the usual dehydrating method. This method is perfect for herbs like chives that tend to lose their flavor and texture during the dehydrating process. When you freeze dry chives, you protect the volatile oils and preserve the texture for a better experience. Here’s how to freeze-dry chives and enjoy their full flavor, even if they’ve been in your storage for several years.

How Do I Choose The Best Chives for Freeze Drying?

Make sure to use quality herbs to freeze dry. What the herb is like when you preserve it now will be the state it would be years after you store it. To make sure that you get the best results possible:

  • Choose fresh – fresh chives are firm and bright green in color. Stay away from wilted, yellowish leaves.
  • Size – All the leave should have the same size. Some chives can be slender, short, and thin, while there are long, robust ones.
  • Scent – young chives have a mild, slightly sweet scent. Mature chives have a deeper, stronger pungency that’s great for stews and soups.
  • Harvest time – chives are at their best flavor when they’re in full bloom or maturity. The herb is usually planted around spring or after the last frost date, so wait about 60 days before harvesting. Pick your crop in the morning when the herb’s essential oils are at their peak.
  • Pests and diseases this is one of the hardiest herbs you can take care of. Rarely do they get pests and diseases, so if they do, it means they’re of poor quality. Don’t use the ones that have signs of pest and disease damage on them. They don’t freeze dry well and don’t give the brightest flavor.
  • Organic – as much as possible, choose organic chives if you’re buying from the market. They’re healthier, taste better, and you support the environment and local farmers.

How Do I Prepare Chives for Freeze-drying?

Rinse the chives thoroughly under cool running water. This will help remove any dirt, debris, or insects embedded or hiding between the leaves. After washing, pat them dry on a clean kitchen cloth or paper towel. Trim out any brown or discolored leaves.

Once you got them sorted, you can leave them the way they are for freeze drying. Or you could chop them into small pieces, so they’re ready to use. They do release the oils after cutting so act fast. Once you cut them they either have to go to the freezer or into the freeze dryer for processing.

stalks of fresh garlic chives on wooden cutting board

Do I Pre-Freeze Chives Before Freeze Drying?

Pre-freezing is an option, but it does help your process and machine immensely. For example, if you got some food freeze-drying in your machine, pre-freezing helps lock in the oils of the herbs while you wait.

When you pre-freeze, use the same trays in which you’ll be freeze-drying your herbs. You prevent unnecessary thawing, and you also help keep the chamber temperature stable.

How To Freeze Dry Chives?

Freeze-drying chives is simple and easy using your Harvest Right freeze dryer. The process doesn’t take much time, like mango, grapefruit, or ham, because the herbs don’t have that much moisture in them.

  1. Turn on your machine and press “START > NON-LIQUID.”
  2. If you pre-froze your herb, choose “FROZEN” and let the machine pre-cool to -8°F (-22 °C) or lower. Depending on your machine and the room temperature, this can take 15-30 minutes.
  3. Your Harvest Right freeze dryer will tell you when it’s ready by telling you to close the drain valve.
  4. Load your trays of chives, then close the chamber door securely.
  5. Press “CONTINUE”, and let the machine do its work.

How Long Does It Take To Freeze Dry Chives?

Freeze-drying chives can take about 16-24 hours or longer, depending on several conditions. For example, the heat and humidity in the room can affect the freeze-drying time and the moisture content of other food items you’re freeze-drying along with the herb.

When the freeze drying’s done, you should have a preserved dry and crumbly herb, yet have this green color that’s way better than dehydrated herb. Check the herb while the trays are still warm. If you feel any cold spots or any leaves feel soft, put the trays back for 2-3 hours of extra dry time.

How Long Do Freeze-Dried Chives Last?

Your freeze-dried chives can last 25 years or more when stored properly.

Mason jars are best for on-demand storage because you can open and reseal it easily. You also have a visual on how much freeze-dried herb you have left.

If you’re stocking for long-term storage, Mylar bags work best. They’re made to keep air and moisture out of the food and not deteriorate. You can get small ones for portion control or use your heat sealer to segment big bags.

Remember to put in oxygen absorbers before sealing your container. These remove oxygen from the packaging and prevent bacteria, mold, and microorganisms from growing. These small packets are made of iron powder and carbon that helps create an oxygen-free environment in the bag. The lack of oxygen slows down the activity of enzymes and bacteria that often cause food spoilage. It also helps minimize the loss of flavor and nutrients caused by oxidation. 1-2 300cc packets are good for every gallon-sized container.

finely chopped onion chives in a metal bowl.

Freeze-Dried Chives to Try

If you don’t have time to freeze-dry your own or want to try it out before you do so, here are a couple of brands we recommend.

Litehouse Freeze-Dried Chives

Litehouse freeze-dried chives have a strong, fresh onion flavor and a slightly grassy undertone. Unlike dehydrated chives, you’ll see this one has a bright green color and a slightly crunchy texture. They’re perfect for adding flavor to your soups, salads, and even dips. Not only do they enhance flavor, but they also make scrambled eggs and potatoes more appealing to eat.

What’s good about them is that they’re non-GMO, gluten-free, and don’t have artificial colors or preservatives.

McCormick Freeze-Dried Chives

This has a slightly milder taste than Litehouse, making it an ideal choice for those who prefer a lighter herby taste in their meals. It’s easy to measure, and many love using it for seasoning meat, poultry, and fish. It’s Kosher, too.

They’re not as crunchy as Litehouse, though, so you might want to use the other if you want texture to your meals.

Freeze-drying chives preserve chives’ flavor, texture, and nutritional value better than dehydration and freezing. When you get the right chives for freeze-drying and prepare your herbs right, you’ll enjoy the same fresh taste and aroma even years in storage. You can easily use them for almost anything; all that effort is worth it.

Want some more tips on how to freeze dry food and make your meals shelf-stable for years? Then, please subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Leave a Reply