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Preserve It! Basil


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I thought for sure that after two weeks away at the end of the summer I’d come home a to dried up herb garden. I was wrong. Either there was rain while we were away or I owe my neighbor for watering. I came home to a plethora of basil and mint. The mint, I just got rid of as I never got around to making the Mojitos I had been planning to (for 2 years). The basil however, I knew would come in handy through the winter if I could just hold on to it.

I had tried freezing basil once before. Admittedly I was lazy and threw a bunch of leaves into a plastic bag and sent said bag into the freezer. That didn’t work out so well. The leaves turned black and unappetizing. Needless to say my bags went straight from the freezer into the garbage. The following year, I thought I’d be proactive and just make pesto and freeze it. I think that container is still in my freezer–unused and just as full as it was the day I made it.

This year my basil preserving has been much more successful– thanks to my Dad. I think one of the first things my father told me when we arrived at his house this summer was that he had frozen basil. I saw these beautiful green leaves in a bag in the freezer and was inspired. The trick, it turns out, is to lay the basil in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the freezer. You can read more about this method and others for freezing herbs on about.com.  What I learned from my own experience is this:

  • If the basil wilts before being frozen, your frozen leaves will look “wilty.”
  • I placed my basil for freezing on both waxed paper and parchment paper. I preferred parchment paper.
  • Basil defrosts REALLY fast, so when you are making the transfer from tray too plastic bag work quickly.

You can follow all of our Preserve It! stories here.

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