Thursday, August 4, 2016

Basil Diaries Part 5

Wash, dry, save for later Photo by Mary A. Nelen

Got extra basil? Here’s how to freeze, or dry for use in the dead of winter. Or fall ….

NOTE: Pick basil before it flowers for best flavor. 

Passive Freeze

Remove leaves from stems, wash, dry and place on a baking sheet. Freeze over night (flash-freeze) and remove in the morning. Slip leaves in a plastic bag and keep in the freezer until ready for use later.

Pulsing Freeze  

Remove leaves from steams, wash and dry on a towel or a baking sheet. Begin by placing 1 cup of walnuts or pine nuts in blender or food processor and chop. Add three cups of basil leaves and 3 cloves of garlic.  
(Chopping nuts first and then adding basil maintains the color of the herb.) Pulse while adding 1/2 cup of olive oil until pureed. Pour pureed basil in ice cube tray. Freeze. When frozen, remove from ice cube tray and place basil cubes in a plastic bag for freezing and later use. For a pesto result, add cheese after thawing.

Drying Method

This is nice because its the prettiest method of preserving basil. Pick leaves from your plants and leave them on the stem. Clean and dry. Tie bunches of basil together with string or use a twist tie. Hang from rafters in a cool place that doesn’t get too much sun and is ventilated. In about 3 weeks you will have dried basil. Either leave it there until ready for use or remove leaves from bunch and crumple into a small jar for later use.