Learn How to Freeze Basil the Right Way
I’ve always thought about freezing basil leaves in such a way that I can retain the lovely green colour as far as possible and not get the blackish tinge that you get after refrigerating.
Never thought preserving fresh basil could be as simple as what we’ve found by research and trial and error. So, without much ado here’s your way to freeze basil so you can use it for months.
Freezing Basil Hot and Cold Bath Method
I’ve had this conversation with almost all my cooking enthusiast friends that starts with “how do you store fresh basil and other herbs” and then you get so many inputs on preserving basil and freezing herbs that you just never end up registering all of it. So, I did my research on freezing fresh basil as our family is a big fan of all food with a dash of basil in it and with some experimenting this is what I have found:
- You can freeze basil by simply washing and putting it in boiling hot water for no more than two seconds. Next you put it into ice cold water to ensure it’s not getting “cooked” anymore.
- You must then get rid of the stem and ensure you only have whole leaves and no part of stem attached to them before you freeze the basil leaves.
- You can now arrange your stash in one flat layer on baking paper for it to freeze and then toss it in a freezer bag with minimum air in it and TaDa – it is going to be good to use for a minimum of 6 months to 1 year.
Freeze Basil – Ice Tray Method
- Or if you can spare an ice tray for that long, you could simply fill it halfway with water, place the basil leaves (minus the stem of course) and freeze.
- Then fill up the remaining half with more water and freeze again.
For me this is the best way to freeze basil as most of its lush green colour remains. You could also get a set of herb freezing trays that come with an airtight lid for this purpose if you are that much into frozen herbs.
- Must Read – How to Freeze Mushrooms at Home
Puree and Store Method
Preserving fresh herbs can be a task and if you’re mostly using basil puree in your delicious recipes you could use this alternate method instead of storing fresh basil leaves, where you would be freezing basil in olive oil:
- Just puree your basil in a food processor, add a tinge of olive oil in it and transfer it into ice trays.
- Once you have your basil cubes ready, put them in a freezer bag and store.
- Note that this is going to give you a stronger flavor than just the leaves so use it sparingly.
Dry Basil Storage
Or if you use a lot of dry herbs like dried basil, you could simply remove the stem, wash and dry the leaves before you bake them in the oven top rack for 2-4 hours on the lowest temperature setting.
If you are going to harvest your own garden basil, try doing it in the morning when the dew has just evaporated and then follow the process of drying in the oven.
Whatever method you use, do label it with the date so you could share with us and friends for how long you could store it.
So now that you are equipped with all the knowledge you needed for keeping basil fresh – be it frozen basil cubes or dried basil or puree, go ahead and cook those basil flavored dishes without thinking about the availability and get the benefits of this wonderful herb all year round.