Freezing Fresh Basil Leaves
I love everything about Basil plants, their vibrant green leaves, the aroma when you brush the leaves and the wonderful taste of freshly picked leaves in my food. I wanted to save some of the basil leaves that are currently growing enthusiastically in the pot on my windowsill, loving the sunny days of English summer.
When I googled how to preserve Basil I was amazed about how many different ways there are to go about it and about how varied peoples opinions were on the best way.
I am going to try the freezing method today as it seems the easiest, and most people agreed it was not detrimental to the flavour and properties of the Basil.
Take no more than one third of the plant. This will ensure the plant is not put under too much strain and allows the plant to keep growing.
Generally most people seem to advise picking before any flowers have developed otherwise you might find the leaves are bitter, others say this is a myth, but I want to be safe than sorry so I am harvesting mine before.
Cut the stalk where there are twin leaves developing, this way the plant will be bushy as the two leaves will develop into to two stems.
Wash and either air dry or pat dry. Remove the leaves from the stems and chop finely with a sharp knife.
Place into small tubs and top with extra virgin cold pressed oil, cap, label and store in your freezer, some people use ice cubes trays, if using trays you can then pop your cubes into another container when frozen. I’m happier today to use small reusable tubs.
Basil will keep for four to six months.
I love basil in my cooking, on pizza, in tomato bases, in dressings.
Fresh Basil is lovely but i’m thinking ahead to those cold bare months when the windowsill is way too cold for Basil to thrive and i’m looking forward to getting my own grown Basil pots out of the freezer and adding them to my winter dishes, a little reminder of the balmy days of summer.