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Saturday, August 14, 2010

How to Freeze Basil: Easy Tutorial

                         
I adore basil. It is my most favorite herb! In fact, I love it so much that the name Basil has been on my "names for little boys" list since 1999!

I just finished putting some freshly picked basil away in my freezer and thought my readers would enjoy an easy tutorial!

It's only recently that I've begun to use fresh basil and while the dried-in-a-jar variety is fragrant and delicious, it doesn't hold a candle to my homegrown!

You will know that your basil is at it's best "picking state" when it gets buds on it and begins to flower. 

 Clip as much off as you want but leave a few leaves to soak up the rays for more plant growth! Something to keep in mind with basil: the more you clip, the more you get as basil grows back two new stems for every one that is clipped!

Pick off the big leaves and carefully wash each one. Be aware that little bugs like to hide in the shady places under the dark basil leaves. Wash both sides and run your fingers along to wipe off any dirt or....baby snails!

Take a moment to look for any that might be trying to get away!!
When you've washed all the leaves, place them in a colander and shake or use a salad spinner if you have one.
Then lay them out in a single layer on paper towels or napkins and pat dry--soaking up as much water as possible.
Next, place the leaves in a food processor, if available, and pulse until they're the size you prefer. I don't have a food processor so I used my Pampered Chef Food Chopper.

You'll want to add a little bit of olive oil to the basil to keep it from turning black in the freezer. (It doesn't affect the taste...just the appearance) If you are using a food processor, you can add it in as you're chopping the basil. I just poured some in the bowl when I was done chopping with my food chopper and mixed it up with a spatula. The amount you'll need will vary depending on what you plan to
do with your basil, but I just used enough to cover each piece.

Finally, you'll want to decide ho
w you're going to divide it up to freeze. It is wise to freeze each recipe size separately. I divided mine up to have a couple good spoonfulls in each container. I plan to put it in pasta sauce and my pasta sauce must feed a family of 9!

You can freeze your basil in small containers, if you have them. I used these two:

Notice they're not fancy! I got one at the Dollar Store for my daughter's baby food and the other is a little Rubbermaid-type lunch box one. You just need something that will be airtight to avoid freezer burn. If I didn't have these two containers, I would have used sandwich bags and then just placed all the bags into one large freezer bag.

**Update: Several readers have mentioned another great freezing method. You can also measure your basil out into ice cube trays and freeze it that way. Then, once it's frozen, pop all the little cubes into a freezer bag to be taken out individually for soup, sauce and more! I will be designating a tray specifically for this as I imagine the tray would eventually take on the wonderful aroma and color of basil! (Though that little taste of basil in lemonade or iced tea might not be too bad??)

Herbs will keep for many years but you'll get your best flavor if you use your basil within the year. Here are a few facts about basil:

**Basil comes from the Greek language and means "king". Basil has been called the "King of the Herbs"

**Basil is highly poisonous to mosquitoes, (Yay!) but safe for rats (bummer!)

**Basil is thought to be a great treatment for arthritis and has antioxidant and anticancer properties.

**Basil will affect the taste of tomatoes if planted too close together. This could be a good or bad thing--depending on what you're doing with your tomatoes!

14 comments:

  1. I freeze my basil in ice cube trays, then transfer to plastic bags. Works great!

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  2. I love basil but prefer to make pesto out of mine to freeze.

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  3. We love our basil too. We have about 4 varieties growing. I do freeze a lot as well (the ice cube method). I love basil for so many things!

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  4. My favourite recipe for enjoying basil is placing a slice of Mozarella cheese on a basil leaf and drizzling a few drops of olive oil and some fresh black pepper over the cheese. A plateful of these makes a nice starter dish - especially while waiting for the barbecue to be done.

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  5. Hey Sarah! I love basil! Thanks so much for planting your creative seeds at Plant a Punkin Seed Party! Come back often!

    I understand about the new baby .....sending hugs your way.

    So fun to see my button on your blog! Seven kiddos now - you are awesome!

    Hugs,

    Kristi
    Punkin Seed Productions

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  6. Mmmm....I love basil too! I had no idea it could be frozen. Now I have to start growing mine. BTW...I love the music playing on your blog! Jon Schmidt is one of my favorites.

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  7. I did a similar tutorial on my blog... you're right, ice cube trays would work great!

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  8. OK now, that little piggy face container lid is way too cute.

    See - - - I zero right in on what's IMPORTANT, don't I?

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  9. Hi Sarah...

    Mmmm...I do believe that I could smell the wonderful aroma of basil as I read your tutorial, my friend! Hehe! You have some great tips for preparing and freezing basil! Thank you so much for sharing them with us today for Sunday Favorites...great post!!!

    Have a super Sunday!
    Chari @Happy To Design

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  10. What a great tutorial! I love basil, but didn't know about any of the factoids you gave, or that you could preserve it any way but by drying it. Thanks for posting such great info!

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  11. Thanks for visiting!

    Great tutorial, Basil is my FAVE too, but I didn't know how to freeze it and prepare it. I just knew how to eat it. ;)

    Have a wonderful day!
    -Ann Marie

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  12. Hi Sarah. What a fantastic idea. I have so many herbs growing I can not use them quick enough. I never thought of freezing - perfect! I'll be featuring this today. Stop by and grab a featured button if you like. Thanks so much for joining the Sunday Showcase party! Hope you have a wonderful week! ~ Stephanie Lynn

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  13. I have become addicted to Basil this summer and had no idea I could freeze it! I am so excited about it...will definitely be doing that! Thank you for the tutorial!

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  14. Great idea...I love your tutorial!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! I read each one of them and love to respond back to those who visit! Please consider signing up for EMAIL NOTICES so you'll have a reminder of our weekly HOMEMAKING PARTY---and more! Have a wonderful day!

Mrs. Sarah Coller

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