Learning how to preserve basil offers three different methods to choose from. Basil can be frozen, packed in salt, or dried. Each method of preserving basil is simple, easy to learn, and requires very few ingredients.
To preserve basil, you will need:
- Olive oil
- Storage jar with tight lid
- How to freeze basil. Wash the basil in clear water and drain thoroughly. Trim off any dead leaves or stems. Place the fresh basil in a food processor and slowly add olive oil. Blend into a paste. There should be three parts basil to one part olive oil. Place the paste into an ice cube tray and freeze solid or place the paste in a sandwich size zip lock bag, flatten, and force the air out. The bags will stack easily in the freezer and when basil paste is needed a small piece can be broken off to use. Store the individual frozen cubes of basil paste in an air tight freezer container.
- Salted basil. Wash the basil in clear water and drain thoroughly until dry. Fill the bottom of a small glass jar with ¼ inch salt. Cover the layer of salt with fresh basil. Cover with ¼ inch of salt and add another layer of fresh basil. Repeat until the jar is full. To use the basil just shake the salt off. Tighten the lid onto the jar and refrigerate for up to six months.
- Traditional dried basil. Wash fresh basil and drain thoroughly in a colander. Gather the fresh basil into a bunch and tie the stems with string. Hang the bunch of basil with the stem upward in a warm place like the kitchen for a week or until the leaves and stems are completely dry. Use scissors to carefully snip off the leaves. Store in an air tight jar in a cool dark place like the pantry for up to a year.
Tips: Cut down on sodium by using sea salt to preserve basil instead of table salt. Whenever storing any edible substance in a jar, always sterilize the jar in boiling water for 10 minutes or running it through the dishwasher with a heated dry cycle.