It’s that time of year here in the Midwest of the U.S. and everywhere there is summer weather when our gardens are bursting with green and lovely plants and herbs.
Since we’ve had a lot of hot weather lately, my basil, tomato and zucchini plants have suddenly bolted upward. That’s great for vegetable plants, but herbs like basil need to be cut from the top so that they can grow outward and become fuller. If this isn’t done, basil plants grow vertically quite fast, which makes the leaves bitter and before you know it, you seed white flowers beginning to form at the top and the plant ready to go to seed- fine at the end of the season, but not when you want to enjoy fresh basil.
There are plenty of ways to preserve fresh basil, but this is my favorite tried-and-true method. The leaves don’t turn brown with this method, which is one of the hardest things to prevent when cut basil leaves come into contact with air and liquid. The oil used in this method smothers the leaves quite nicely so you can one day later make that perfect pesto you always wanted to…
Fresh basil leaves
Olive oil to cover
Freezer proof container with a lid
Pick basil from plants or buy them fresh from a grocery store or farmers market.
Rinse leaves with cool water and quickly put through a salad spinner. Remove and gently but thoroughly pat dry with paper towels.
Place the clean and dried leaves in a freezer container. Add the oil to cover the leaves completely. Close the lid tightly and freeze.
Keeps for about 6 months.
To use, bring to room temperature and add to soups, stews, pasta and more. If you only want a portion of the frozen mixture, use a spoon to cut into some of it and drop into a heated pan or cooking dish and return the rest of it to the freezer.
Recipes with fresh basil: