How to Freeze Basil and Keep it All Year
In this article, we'll tell you how to freeze basil and keep it fresh all year. With this advice, the smell and taste of this aromatic herb will be present in your cooking all year round!
Basil is a fresh and aromatic herb that we use when cooking to give our meal a special flavor. Since it’s a plant that thrives in the hottest months, when the temperature drops, its appearance changes. It usually dries out, withers and it becomes very difficult to extract fresh leaves. However, if we freeze basil, we can enjoy it all year.
Whether you have a plant in your garden or balcony or you bought it fresh from the supermarket. It’s possible to keep it fresh and intact for a long time.
In this article, we’ll share how it’ll be possible to enjoy the sensation that basil generates in meals.
Alternatives to freezing basil and conserving it
There are different options when it comes to freezing basil and conserving it in perfect condition for a long time. What we have to keep in mind is that in each case, we’re only working with the leaves and we throw the stalks away.
Another important detail is that basil has high water content. It’s for this reason that if we cut the leaves and don’t use them straight away, they turn black and lose their flavor. As such, we recommend that you don’t dry basil because it is a very delicate herb and it’ll lose its aroma.
In the freezing cold, it could last up to 10 months, so here are some ways you can freeze basil and ensure it keeps all of its characteristics.
Freeze the leaves whole
To freeze the leaves whole, you should follow this procedure:
- Separate the leaves from the stalks.
- Wash them very carefully. To do this, we recommend you submerge them in a glass of cold water since they are very delicate and a strong jet of water could damage the structures of the leaves.
- Dry them with paper towels.
- Put them in an airtight bag to freeze.
This way, we can conserve the basil for at least 10 months, according to a study presented in the Cuban Journal of Pharmacy. It’s likely that some of the leaves will break or shrink, and won’t be fresh when we defrost them.
However, this won’t be a problem if we’re going to crush them up to add them to food.
Keep reading: Tips and Recommendations to Freeze Broccoli
Freeze basil in cubes of ice
This is a more practical way to freeze basil. You only need an ice tray, just like the ones that we use to make ice cubes. Once you’ve washed the leaves well, put 5 or 6 into each space, and add oil.
This way, you’ll have a naturally basil-scented ingredient!
With olive oil and salt
Conserving the basil in olive oil is one of the most-used ways. Once you have washed and dried the leaves as indicated above, follow these steps:
- Put the leaves in a herb grinder and add olive oil; about two spoonfuls for each generous handful of leaves.
- Crush it all until you get a uniform paste.
- Split the mixture between the compartments of an icecube tray and freeze.
In terms of preserving it with salt, the procedure is very simple and you’ll need basil leaves. salt. olive oil, and a glass jar. In the jar, create a mattress-like structure of leaves with a layer of salt until it’s full.
Later, cover it all with olive oil and put the lid on the jar. You can preserve basil in this way for about two months.
Prepare pesto and freeze it
This option is one of our favorites because when you have frozen pesto, you save a lot of preparation time when making a good pasta dish.
You’ll need basil leaves, olive oil, and salt to create a basic pesto. You have to grind the leaves and add the oil and salt. To freeze this, you can put the paste in an icetray.
If you prefer a pesto that’s a little more elegant, we propose you try this recipe:
- 1 cup of basil leaves
- 2 oz of olive oil
- 1/4 cup of nuts
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1/2 cup of parmesan or a similar cheese
- 1 glove of garlic and salt to taste
Process all of the ingredients, and put them in containers that are suitable for freezing, add a splash of olive oil, and freeze. This will last a year.
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Advice to freeze basil or conserve basil
If you don’t want to freeze the basil, but you do want it to last a bit longer than it does naturally, you have to keep it somewhere protected from natural light. In a vase somewhere dark you can keep it for up to two weeks in good conditions.
Another alternative is to freeze it but keeping the leaves healthy. To do this, take the clean and dry leaves and put them in a tray in the freezer.
Once they’ve solidified, you can save them in airtight containers. This way, the leaves will be kept in a better condition than if you freeze them, following the instructions at the beginning of the article.
Finally, there’s always the option to dry fresh herbs like basil. To do that, after having washed and dried the leaves, you have to place them outdoors, but not in the sun as to avoid the insects eating them or them losing their flavor.
You’ll know that they’re dry when they’re crunchy and crumble easily. Many people recommend against doing this with basil because it’s a sensitive herb, so we’ll leave that to you to decide.
Freeze basil: Final recommendations
In this article, you’ll have seen that it’s possible to conserve basil for a long time keeping the majority of its organoleptic characteristics. We just want to add that when it comes to using it, you should grind it as you add it to your food. If you pick the basil in advance, it’ll go black and wilt.
We use fresh basil to improve the taste of drinks, infusions, vinegar, and oils. All of these preparations should be kept in the fridge and eaten within four days of creating them. This is necessary to prevent it from developing bacteria.