Saving Fresh Basil

cassieinmass(6)May 18, 2009

Ok, so I want to prune my basil plants, and know I wont be using them for some time. I was wondering if I rinsed them off, leaving them a tad wet, and sticking them into a ziploc and then sticking them in the freezer will preserve the basil for sauces and what-not? Will I get the fresh basil flavor? My boyfriend makes a killer spaghetti sauce with fresh basil...

Thanks!!!! -Cassie

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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Cut off several stems with several leaves each. Place in a vase with water. They should even start to root that way. Keeping in the fridge in wet paper towels and plastic will only shorten their leaf life.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 6:28PM
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If you want it for sauces, you might have better luck making a pesto and freezing it in an ice cube tray.

I may be wrong but wet frozen whole leaves seems like they may thaw slimy.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 11:22PM
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jwstell42(5 NY)

Yeah all we do is take some olive oil and pine nuts, throw them in the blender with the basil. Spread it on a cookie sheet and freeze it. Once froze take it out and break it up into a ziplock freezer bag. Then you can just take out chunks as you need them for sauce, or whatever :)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 10:37AM
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I do the same thing, minus the pine nuts. I just put the basil leaves into the food processor, add just enough olive oil to make a thick paste, and then put tablespoons full onto a baking sheet covered with waxed paper. Into the freezer and when the "plops" are frozen I pack them into a plastic freezer container with waxed paper between the layers. When I want basil, I take out as many as I need.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 2:29PM
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sunshinenc(z7 NC)

I like to coarsley chop the basil and put into ice cube trays in water, freeze, then pop them into a ziplock freezer bag for storage.. Very easy to pop out later and use in sauces, etc. and seems to retain the flavor pretty well.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 4:44PM
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I always blanch my basil leaves before freezing in plastic bags or even before I make pesto. The trick is to get a whole bunch into the water and out into an ice bath fast enough. Use a large enough pot so you can get them in a out in a second of two. I don't have a pasta cooking insert, but that is what I would use if I had one. When blanched, the volume of the leaves is reduced 80% and the pasta cooker insert becomes my draining colander for my next step. I've tried it with and without blanching, and my blanched basil stays much greener I believe if I blanch it before freezing. Jim in So. Calif.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 8:58AM
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dogear6(7 / Richmond VA)

I do my basil similar to Annie & Sunshine - I whirl it in the food processor with barely enough olive oil to make a paste. Instead of freezing in cubes though, I put it in a ziploc bag and smooth out to a thin sheet. When I need some, I just break it off. If it gets too frozen, knock it on the kitchen counter to break it up.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 11:08PM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)


In my own experience, freezing it on its own or in water hasn't preserved the flavour very well.

But like Annie & sunshine I've had pretty good luck when it is blended up with olive oil. I usually make a batch of proto-pesto (olive oil, parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, salt) and freeze in small muffin cups, then wrap the "pucks" and store in a ziplock; I add a little butter and parmesan when I serve it.

But I've preserved it in ice cube trays whizzed with just olive oil with pretty good luck, too.

ANd Ken's suggestion to root the cuttings into more plants so you can simply have more access to basil that is totally fresh sounds like a fab idea.

That BF sounds like a keeper if he makes spaghetti sauce for you!


    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 12:31PM
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