I have started a little herb garden in my house, so now I have a lot of basil leaves. While this is really great for recipes that I love, I know that it is too much basil for me to use right away. How do I prevent these from going to waste?
Nothing goes better with summer produce than basil. And if you happen to have an overabundance of this tasty leaf, don’t let it go to waste! Freeze your fresh basil for the winter so you can celebrate the season throughout the year.
Tending a herb garden is fun work, and immensely rewarding! You get your spices right from your own backyard with the guarantee that it’s safe and fresh. It’s a good thing that basil is one of the herbs that anyone can easily preserve.
You can preserve basil in different ways – freezing, pureeing, and drying. You can choose which method best suits your current situation. These techniques will allow you to have basil on hand all year long.
Can You Freeze Basil?
Freezing fresh basil will retain its flavor better than those leaves that undergo blending or air drying. However, all methods are equally efficient in preserving basil.
As an alternative to the three other techniques, you can freeze the basil in olive oil. You can also make pesto and freeze it for future use.
Frozen basil leaves will often turn into a dark green to black color. This does not affect the quality or shelf life of basil at all.
Basil leaves will shrink as during the freezing process. Make sure to take this into account when measuring the amount of basil used in recipes.
If you’re more likely to make vinaigrette, dressings, or pesto from the leaves, pureeing then freezing them is an easier option. You can also use pureed basil for soups and stews.
You can add frozen basil leaves to heated dishes immediately. There is no need to thaw the basil out before including them in the meal.
How to Preserve Basil?
You can preserve basil using one of these three methods. All methods begin with removing any stems from the basil leaves then washing and drying them completely.
Steps for Frozen Basil:
- First, blanch the leaves in boiling water for about 2 seconds.
- Immediately after, soak the basil leaves in an ice bath.
- Allow the leaves to dry completely then store inside freezer bags or freezer-safe containers. You can make layers of leaves with wax paper in between.
Steps for Pureed and Frozen Basil:
- Using a blender or food processor, puree the leaves with olive oil. A cup of basil requires about one tablespoon of olive oil.
- Freeze the puree mixture in ice cube trays until solid.
- Once frozen, pop them and store in freezer bags or containers.
Steps for Oven-Dried Basil:
- Arrange the basil leaves on a parchment sheet then place them on the oven’s upper rack.
- Bake the leaves for about 2-4 hours with the oven set to its lowest temperature.
- Upon cooling, crumble the basil leaves then store them in tightly-sealed containers, with excess air removed.
Make some delicious pesto with pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and garlic. This Classic Basil Pesto recipe will surely be great as bread spread or with pasta dishes.
This Basil Chicken recipe traces its roots back to Thailand known for their tasty savory dishes. You can customize the spices used to suit your taste!
For a filling dish that is sure to be a hit with kids and adults, serve this Basil Pesto Pasta. It’s a vegetarian recipe that you can modify with some shredded chicken or bacon bits.
Freezing fresh basil is a great way to preserve the flavor and use it in dishes later. You can also make pesto or freeze it for sauces, dressings, vinaigrette, soups, stews, and more. The only downside of freezing basil leaves is that they will shrink during this process; be sure to take this into account when measuring out your ingredient quantity needed for recipes! Have any tips on how best to freeze herbs? Share them in the comments below so others may benefit from your experience as well!