September 27, 2010

How to Freeze Basil

Yummy basil.

Why does it seem like no matter how much basil I grow in the summer, I never have enough to get me through the winter?

And then I have to pay $45 for 5 leaves at the grocery store.

Because I live in the frozen tundra of Minnesota.

And they have to send us basil from Mexico, or some place equally tropical.

It's an injustice.

But the good news?

You can freeze basil!


There are several different methods for this...

You can make a simple basil pesto, and freeze it in small containers.

You can chop your basil and freeze it with a little water into ice cube trays.

Or, you can freeze the leaves whole - with no additives!

That's what I do.

I like this method best because I don't always like to have the addition of olive oil or water in whatever dish I'm cooking.

Does that sentence even make sense?

Please bear with me...I am sick and should be in bed, eating homemade chicken noodle soup and having Alejandro (my imaginary pool boy) rub Vicks Vapor Rub on my body.

Instead, I will stare at my computer, eat leftover beef stew, and cry because my  nose is raw from blowing it 96,472 times.

Anyway, back to the basil...this is how I like to do it:

1. Thoroughly wash and DRY your basil leaves.

These are not dry enough.

2. Spread in one layer on a baking sheet.

3. Place in freezer until the leaves are frozen...or be like me and forget about them overnight...whatever works!

4. Once frozen, remove baking sheet and transfer frozen leaves to zip-top bags or plastic containers (working quickly as they thaw fast).

5. Label and return to freezer.

Use these later in soups, stews, sauces, etc. I usually measure the leaves before they are frozen so that I can write that on the bag (example: 2 cups basil, 9/10). Keep in mind that some discoloration will occur when you freeze them...and possibly even more when you thaw them for use. They won't be pretty enough to use for garnish, but the flavor stays true and they are perfect for use in my Roasted Tomato Basil Soup!


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