Have an endless supply of fresh basil at hand when you learn how to preserve basil leaves. Basil has a lightly sweet delicate flavor, making it of the most commonly used herbs in cooking. To have Basil year round it must be preserved in ways that make in easy to use.
To preserve Basil leaves, you will need:
- Fresh Basil Leaves
- String or twine
- Fresh Parsley
- Ice Cube trays
- Freezer zip lock bags
- Freeze Basil leaves. Wash a bunch of fresh basil and cut the leaves from the stems. Finely chop the basil leaves with a sharp knife. Place the finely chopped basil leaves in the cups of a clean ice cube tray. Cover the basil leaves with water and place in the freezers overnight. Remove the frozen basil ice cubes from the tray and store in a freezer zip lock bag. To use the frozen basil leaves, just drop them into the simmering soup or sauce and stir.
- Dry fresh Basil leaves. Wash the bunch of fresh basil with running water and drain on a paper towel. Gather the fresh basil into a bunch and tie the stems together with string or twine. Hang the bunch of basil with the stem upward in a warm dry place until completely dried. Snip off the leaves with scissors. Store the dried leaves in an air tight container or zip lock bag and store in a dark cool place like the pantry.
- Frozen Pesto. Place fresh basil, parsley, and garlic in a blender on a slow speed. Slowly add olive oil to the blend and mix thoroughly. Place the Pesto sauce in ice cube trays or small freezer containers overnight until frozen. Store the frozen Pesto in a zip lock freezer bag. To use, remove the frozen Pesto cubes from the freezer and thaw.
Tips and Warnings:
- Pesto is a combination of herbs and olive oil. There are many different recipes for Pesto online. Experiment with different Pesto combinations.
- Some methods of preserving basil leaves can cause them to lose their bright green color and become dark green. To prevent this, blanch the leaves before preserving. To blanch basil leaves, boil a pot of water and fill a bowl with ice and water. Dip the fresh basil leaves in the boiling water for 30 seconds and remove. Immediately plunge the basil leaves in the ice water. Remove the basil from the ice water and dry carefully on paper towels before preserving.