Basil is my favorite herb scent. It takes me back to when I was first beginning my garden journey and a dear friend gifted me a basil plant to get me started. It lit a spark in my gardener’s soul, and the scent has been powerful to me ever since. I tend to plant waaay too much of it for that reason, so it’s important to know how to preserve it!
Gardening Is A Lot of Work
Planting, weeding, watering….no matter how small your garden is, there’s always something to be done. But the work doesn’t end outside. We grow all of this food to eat, after all. I would argue that harvest season is just as busy as planting season in the spring.
We’ll still get some fresh goodies throughout the cooler months, but a lot of our winter diet will be foods that we preserve now. It’s a lot of work at the moment, but come January I’ll be thanking myself. This week’s project is harvesting and preserving the last of our summer basil.
My favorite basil dish is a fresh caprese salad, with garden fresh tomatoes and creamy mozzarella. Oh, and my Mama just so happens to make the best ever. Mama, if you’re reading this….hint, hint.
But it won’t stay fresh forever, so preserve I must. These are some of my favorite ways to enjoy my delicious basil all year long.
One of the easiest ways to preserve basil is to simply dry it.
I built this super simple herb drying rack last summer & absolutely love it! Just wash the basil, pat the water off, then hang it upside down to dry. You want to dry them whole to preserve the flavor. I use twine, but whatever you tie it with, be sure to get it extra tight because it will shrink as it dries. You can leave it there to pinch off as needed, or bottle it up. These are some of my favorite little herb jars.
Another option is to simply freeze it. I end up freezing a lot of our produce because it’s super quick, and I can actually get it put up before it goes bad…..not that I would ever let that happen, ahem.
- Remove the leaves from the stems
- Blanch the leaves in boiling water for a few seconds
- Transfer them to a bowl of ice water
- Dry them completely & store them layered between parchment paper in a freezer-safe container so they don’t freeze together in a big lump.
Making basil cubes is a great way to add a burst of fresh flavor to all sorts of dishes. Drop one in your soup or pasta, top off a delicious piece of fresh fish, or make your own salad dressing.
Bam! All kinds of flava.
- Clean and dry fresh basil.
3. Top with olive oil.
4. Freeze, then place in freezer safe bag or container.
What’s your favorite way to eat or store basil?
Share in the comments section below!