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Here’s how to preserve Basil so it tastes fresh all year!
Basil is a quick growing herb and should be ready to harvest some leaves within two months. Perfect for any tomato dish or whipped into a pesto!
Here is some Basil that I seeded just a few weeks ago and it is already in need of trimming. Since I want the Basil plants to be full and bushy, I needed to pinch off some of the leaves and stem.
But what can you do with the trimmings? Here’s how to preserve fresh Basil so you can enjoy it all winter long.
I love Basil and we use it a lot in cooking. Since we grow a lot of Basil, we could never eat it all when the leaves are ready.
But I have figured out a great way to preserve a lot of Basil. It’s quick and easy. And, the Basil tastes great whether we use it in November, January or any other time of the year.
How to Preserve Fresh Basil
How to Preserve Basil By Drying
Drying Basil certainly works, but it’s not my favourite method. It tends to lose a lot of flavor once it’s dried.
Meh. Not for me. But here is how to dry basil leaves, if you want to give it a try.
Dry it just like I do with Lovage . That’s Lovage in the photo above – it tastes a lot like celery, but without the stalk. Lovage is a perennial, so plant it once and it comes back every year. Here’s how to grow Lovage in the herb garden.
When it comes to air drying Basil, just pinch off some leaves and lay them on a baking sheet or paper.
Spread them out so they are not piled onto each other. A single layer of leaves is always better than several layers and you need as much air around them as possible.
Leave them in the open on the counter for a couple of days and once dry, crush them (or store the leaves whole) in a Mason jar.
Use whenever you want to add some flavour to soups, stews, salads and the like.
How to Preserve Basil by Freezing
OK, now we’re talking. I like to freeze our Basil leaves. It’s the one method I’ve found that has the Basil leaves tasting just like they were freshly picked off the plant.
I just pinch and trim the leaves. Once the plant is really growing, I can take off a lot of the larger leaves.
If the plant is still small, a little prune job is still possible. Just don’t take too much!
I then give them a good rinsing and run them through my Salad Spinner. Have you got one of these? If not, you should – they are a great time saver.
The spinner holds a LOT of herbs (or lettuce) and makes really quick work of cleaning herbs.
How to Freeze Basil Leaves
I just chop a bunch of basil leaves into smaller pieces, then I fill an ice cube tray with water.
Fill each compartment with Basil leaves; you will have to push them into place to fit several pieces into each compartment.
Put them in the freezer for a day or two. Once they are frozen individually, pop them all out and put them together in a Ziplock bag. A thinner plastic bag will also work, but heavier ones are better for longer term storage.
You could also store them in any kind of airtight container – as long as they are kept in the freezer.
Back in the freezer they go, to be pulled out whenever we want Basil. One or two of the frozen basil cubes will add wonderful flavor to fresh spagetti sauce, on pasta, tossed into a salad or spread on pizza.
If you need to thaw the cubes without heating, just place them in a bowl and let the cubes come to room temperature. Drain on paper towel, then, you’ve got fresh basil leaves to use in cooking.
You can’t get much easier than this – make sure you include Basil in your garden this year.
Basil is easy to grow, easy to harvest and easy to preserve. Basil likes a lot of heat and cannot withstand frost – keep this in mind when you plant it.
I put my Basil plants into containers and keep them on the porch. Of course, you can easily grow Basil and other herbs indoors too!
They’re pretty, they smell wonderful when you brush against them and it’s super convenient to snip a few leaves to include with your meals.
Basil does like to flower early, so keep pinching the top leaves off. This will keep the plant from flowering. Enjoy!
Basil Pesto Recipes
Basil is great to use in so many different Italian dishes. It’s the perfect herb to use along with:
- garlic cloves
- cheese, especially parmesan and mozzarella
- olive oil
Slice fresh tomatoes thickly and arrange on a plate with slices of mozzarella. Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil over both ingredients and crumble basil leaves over top. This is a delicious appetizer with tons of fresh taste – perfect for a summer afternoon.
Here’s a great recipe for a fast and easy Basil Pesto. This one uses walnuts instead of pine nuts.
Allergic to nuts? Try this Nut Free Basil Pesto!
Looking for more about growing Herbs?
Want to learn about Lovage? A super easy herb to grow and it looks great in flower beds!
Ever tried Garlic Scape Pesto ? It is delicious and I have got the recipe here, check it out.
Drying herbs is really very easy, take a look.
Ever thought of growing Hops in your garden or yard?
Want to find out which are The 5 Easiest Vegetables to Grow?
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