Sunday, October 30, 2011

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

It's only within the past couple of years 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 helps 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 spoonfuls in each container. I plan to put it in pasta sauce and my pasta sauce must feed a family of 10!

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 Tree 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.

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!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Have a wonderful evening!

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  1. Fabulous!!I didn't know it is best to pick them when they are about to flower!
    My son has a friend named Basil! It is a really cool name!

  2. Love my basil plant! I freeze my pesto in ice cube trays then put them in a large baggie. Perfect size for a special dish or to just thaw add a bit more olive oil and use with fresh hot bread.

  3. Thanks for this great tutorial, Sarah!
    I didn't know the best time to pick was when the flowers buds appear.
    bless you..Trish

  4. Thanks for the tutorial! What else can you use it in besides pasta?

  5. Hi! Thanks so much for visiting my blog and for your interest in my basil tutorial. Basil is an excellent herb for flavoring so many things! One of the most common things that basil is used in, besides pasta sauce, is pesto. It is also great to serve in a tossed salad with greens and/or other herbs. It's delicious on fish. Basil tastes great with tomato so it would be a lovely addition to salsa, pico de gallo, and tomato soup. It's wonderful to stick in the oil or vinegar bottle for a delicious flavor. Basil also tastes good with lemon and many people use it to flavor lemonade! I made clam chowder the other night and the added basil was just the thing to make it taste perfect! In my opinion, one just can't go wrong with basil!

  6. Thank you for this! My basil is dying, because it's getting cold outside! Now I can have it all year round! :D

    I am ryuluna from swap-bot~!

  7. Wow that was very informative! I have my basil planted really close to my tomatoes so we shall see how they turn out! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Mmmmm, basil :) I will have to try this next summer! Thanks so much for sharing on The HomeAcre Hop!

  9. I just grew my first Basil and this information was very helpful...mine is not ready to pick yet but still looking great!

  10. Wonderful tutorial. I am just now starting my herb garden for the summer .. . last years didn't survive our winter. I miss having fresh basil and fresh mint. Once you grow your own, it's hard to go back to store-bought!

  11. I have never frozen herbs before but will definitely try this. Basil is one of my favorite herbs too and I hate it in the winter when I have to buy it instead of walk outside and pick some! Thanks for the tips.

  12. I love the way fresh basil smells. It is so nice to have "fresh" basil available form the freezer any time of year!!
    hugs x, Crystelle
    Crystelle Boutique

  13. I love Basil.... and pesto. Never have had much luck growing it so usually look for bunches of it at farmers markets. I make a pesto mayonnaise that my family loved to use on a chicken and cheese panini!


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Mrs. Sarah Coller

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