Can you freeze basil? Basil is a culinary herb that is used both fresh and dried. It plays an important role in some kitchens. If you have more basil than you can use at once, is there anything you can do (besides drying) to preserve it? Or is there a way to save some basil for the winter months? Luckily, you can freeze fresh basil with good results. It’s pretty easy to do that too.
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Freezing basil – how to
There are a few ways you can freeze basil. I will discuss them in detail. Either way, you should start by washing basil leaves and discarding any stems. Make sure each leaf is green, other leaves should be discarded. Allow the leaves to dry thoroughly.
Freeze whole leaves
If you want to freeze whole leaves, there are a few options for you. Basically, once the leaves are dry, they’re ready to be frozen long-term, but freezing them without further preparation won’t give you the best results. Note that basil leaves will not be as light green after thawing as they were before freezing. There are at least two things you can do to prepare the leaves for long-term freezing.
Blanching is the first thing you can do to better prepare basil leaves for freezing. It helps preserve the natural color and flavor when the herb is frozen. All you have to do is place the basil leaves in boiling water for a short time (15 seconds should be enough) and then allow the leaves to cool quickly. A pot or sink of ice water is a big help when it comes to cooling the leaves. After that, you should dry the leaves. Blanching is now complete. Please remember that blanching is optional.
Pre-freezing (or blast freezing) is another way to prepare herb for long-term freezing. It’s pretty easy to do. Place the leaves one at a time on a cookie sheet or tray and place in the freezer for a few hours to quickly freeze the leaves. After freezing, quick freezing is over – you can take the tray out of the freezer. The leaves should survive the freezing and thawing process better than without them.
Now it’s time to put the leaves in the freezer for the long term. All you have to do is transfer the leaves to freezer bags. Remember to squeeze out as much air as possible. Instead of squeezing them out, you can try sucking them out of the bag with a straw.
Read Also: Can you freeze bread dough?
Freezing chopped basil
Basil leaves can be shredded with a food processor, blender, or simply with a knife. Of course, if you prefer, you can also freeze chopped basil using the same steps as freezing whole leaves. However, there is another way to freeze basil, and it’s often used when you want to preserve the fresh look, green color, and flavor of basil.
Once the basil is chopped, take an ice cube tray and place some chopped basil in each small spot. Now it’s time to add some water or oil to cover the herb. If you want you can add water or oil during cutting, it’s up to you. When finished, place the ice cube tray in the freezer and allow small ice cubes to form. Once frozen, remove the shell from the freezer and place the cubes in a freezer bag. The chopped basil is ready to be frozen long-term.
A word of caution. If you have decided to freeze basil in oil, add oil right before freezing. Storing basil in oil (both refrigerated and at room temperature) poses a botulism risk.
Freezing basil leaves – useful information
Before you put the bag in the freezer, remember to date and label it. For best quality, use frozen basil within 6 months of freezing. If you use it in a cooked dish, you can add the frozen basil directly to your dish.
As you can see, you can freeze basil, and there are at least a few ways you can do so successfully.