This summer, use fresh garden basil and blossoms to make basil butter! This garlic herb compound butter is easy to make and can be frozen for later.
It's August now, and there's a change in the air.
The hot, humid summer nights are, quite suddenly, vanishing, and the mornings feel crisp and cool.
Fall is coming.
I'm partly excited for cooler weather, but another (louder) voice in my head is reminding me to continue harvesting my summer garden. My delicate herbs (like basil) are running out of time.
Are you working to preserve your basil too?
Basil butter is an easy, delicious way to preserve summer basil, and can be frozen to use all winter long.
Have you used basil in every recipe you can think of but still have more? You can also freeze basil for later.
What is Compound Butter?
Compound butter is made by softening butter and mixing it with flavoring.
It's a great way to preserve herbs and herb blossoms.
Sometimes, it's best to cook whatever you're adding to the butter. With chive butter, cooking the chives first help bring out extra flavor, and mushroom butter tastes bests when you brown the diced mushrooms first.
Sometimes, however, you can simply add raw ingredients to the butter and mix it all together. I like this method best because it's easiest.
Happily, basil butter can be made using the easy, no-cook method.
How to Soften Butter
Before you can make get started, you'll need to fully soften your butter.
The best way to soften butter is to simply leave it out at room temperature for an hour or two. Or longer.
I usually set mine butter out on the counter the night before I plan to use it.
How to Prepare the Butter
Start by beating the butter.
Use a rubber spatula and beat it back and forth in a bowl until it's soft and malleable.
How to Slice the Basil
Normally, I tear my basil into pieces instead of cutting it.
For basil butter, however, I like to use more uniformly sized pieces. This is just a personal preference, do whichever you prefer.
The easiest way to slice basil without bruising the leaves is to use a cutting technique called chiffonade.
Stack a few basil leaves together, roll them up tightly, and cut perpendicularly down the roll. Repeat until you've got about a cup of basil slivers.
How to Make Basil Butter
Next, add powdered garlic, a little salt, and the basil to the butter.
Use the rubber spatula and begin to fold the basil into the butter.
Continue folding the basil into the butter until the mixture looks evenly mixed and all of the basil is covered in butter.
At this point, you have options.
If you're serving right away, form the butter into a ball or log.
If, on the other hand, you're preserving lots of basil and hoping to use this basil butter all winter long, here's what to do.
You can roll the butter into a log, wrap it in parchment paper, and slice off pieces of butter as needed.
My preferred method is to scoop the butter into silicone molds (like a silicone ice cube tray), freeze the butter, and then pop the butter out of the molds. I store the pre-portioned butter cubes in freezer bags.
How to Use Basil Butter
I use herb butter in all the things.
And of course, it would be amazing smeared onto some rosemary dutch oven bread.
However you use it, this herb butter will give you the taste of summer all year long!
- ½ pound unsalted butter, divided (2 sticks)
- 1 cup basil, thinly sliced Or tear basil into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Fully soften the butter by leaving it at room temperature for 30-60 minutes (or overnight) before proceeding.If using basil blossoms, dip the blossoms in a bowl of water to clean, and then set on a towel to dry.Use a rubber spatula to beat the butter until it's fully malleable.
- Add the basil, garlic, and salt to the butter. Beat the butter with the spatula to mix with the herbs. Continue until the herbs seem well-distributed and all of the basil is coated in butter.
- To serve the same day:Pour butter into a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Note that butter will harden again in the fridge, so if you want it to be spreadable, take out of the fridge a few minutes before serving.Refrigerate leftovers and use within 5 days.
- To store for later:Freeze in a log: Chill butter until it's cool enough to form, and then roll it into a log. Use parchment paper or a rubber spatula to help you form the log. Wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap, and store in an airtight container, and freeze for up to 6 months. When you're ready to use the butter, simply slice off the amount you want to use and put the rest back in the freezer.Freeze in portions: Scoop butter into portioned molds (like a silicone ice cube tray), and freeze until hardened. Pop the butter out of the molds, transfer to an airtight bag, and use the butter within 6 months.