Want to preserve your fresh basil to use it all year long? This tutorial will walk you through how to freeze basil leaves (alone or packed in oil).
Fall is coming.
There's a chill in the morning air, and the leaves are beginning to change.
As excited as I am about fall, the changing weather means that it's time to finish preserving as many summer herbs as possible.
And guys, I've been working nonstop to preserve my herbs!
I turned my chives, rosemary, and mint into herb salt.
But there's one herb that has grown more than all the other herbs in my garden.
My basil plants are massive.
If you've been following along with my Instagram stories, you might've seen my basil plants!
Today, however, I walked out into my garden and realized that there was simply too much basil left. I needed a faster (and cheaper) way to get the basil in the freezer.
This tutorial will walk you through how to freeze basil quickly and easily. And, quite frankly, cheaply.
The cost of butter and pesto ingredients can begin to multiply quickly when you've got a lot of basil to preserve.
Freezing Basil vs Drying Basil
Basil is a fairly delicate herb, and while dried basil does have a nice flavor, the flavor vanishes relatively quickly.
Freezing basil locks the flavors in more clearly and for longer.
Start with Clean + Dry Basil Leaves
Before freezing basil, make sure to clean it.
I like to use a salad spinner to clean my herbs. I love my OXO salad spinner.
Once your leaves are dry, you've got two options.
You can freeze the leaves whole (the quickest and cheapest option), or you can freeze sliced basil in olive oil.
Freeze Whole Basil Leaves
To freeze whole basil leaves, lay the clean, dry basil out in a single layer in a baking sheet or tray.
Slide the basil into the freezer.
Check on the basil after about thirty minutes.
When the leaves are all frozen, you can take them out of the freezer and move them to an airtight bag. The bag will go back into the freezer.
Freezing the basil in a single layer like this will help keep the leaves from sticking together later, meaning you can grab a single basil leaf when you're ready to use it.
Whole frozen basil leaves are perfect for tossing in this San Marzano marinara sauce.
Freeze Basil in Oil
Another option is to freeze the basil in oil.
This option is almost as easy as the first, but cutting the basil will take a little time. Plus, this method might take a little longer if you're working in batches (depending on how many silicone molds you have available).
Start by thinly slicing the basil.
I stack my basil leaves and roll them, and then cut through multiple leaves at once.
Make sure you're using a sharp knife so that you don't bruise the basil.
Once your basil is sliced, divide it into a silicone mold. I use a silicone ice cube tray.
Drizzle a little olive oil over each batch of basil. Just use enough to cover the leaves, and then push the leaves down into the oil to make sure each leaf is coated.
Put the basil and oil in the freezer.
Once the oil has hardened, pop the cubes of basil and oil out of the mold, stick them in an airtight freezer bag, and put them back in the freezer.
These basil cubes are perfect to add to sauces or soups. Add to this tomato soup while it simmers.
When you take a little time to freeze your basil now, you'll be able to enjoy it all winter long!
How to Freeze Basil
- baking sheet or tray
- freezer bags
- silicone ice cube tray (optional)
- 1 bunch fresh basil
- olive oil (optional)
- Remove basil from stems.Use a salad spinner to rinse and dry basil. Alternatively, rinse the basil and set aside to dry.
Freeze Dry Basil Leaves:
- Lay basil in a single layer on a baking sheet or tray. Freeze for at least 30 minutes, or until each leaf is frozen.Move the leaves into an airtight freezer bag.Pull out the amount of leaves desired as you're ready to use them. If desired, slice or break apart the frozen basil before using.
Freeze Basil in Oil:
- Thinly slice the basil.
- Divide the basil slices into a silicone ice cube tray.Drizzle a little oil over each cube, and then push the leaves into the oil.Freeze until hardened, and then pop the basil cubes out of the tray and move into an airtight freezer bag.