Preserving basil

Now that it’s July and the days are hothothot, the basil in Recycla’s garden is growing like crazy. This makes her very happy, as she loves adding fresh basil to pasta dishes and other Mediterranean-influenced foods.

basilRecycla is growing more than a dozen basil plants this year, most sweet and Genovese basils. That might like a lot, but she preserves most of her basil for the cold months and thus needs to harvest and preserve as much as she can in the next two months, when the nights start to get cooler and basil stops growing.

Oh sure, Recycla could buy basil at the grocery store, but she thinks that dried basil is an inferior substitute and she flat-out refuses to spend $5 or more on a small bunch of fresh basil when she grows it herself with almost no effort.  So every year she plants basil and literally reaps the benefits.

How does Recycla preserve her basil?  By making basil paste — here’s how:

  • Cut back your basil plants.  Don’t be afraid to be aggressive; they’ll rebound.
  • Wash the leaves thoroughly and remove stems.
  • Put up to four cups of leaves in your food processor, along with a tablespoon or two of good quality olive oil.
  • Pulse until the leaves are chopped to the consistency of pesto. Once chopped, four cups of leaves will be reduced to approximately one cup of basil paste.
  • Spoon into small containers or an ice cube tray and freeze.
  • Once frozen, store the basil paste in heavy duty freezer containers.
  • When ready to use, defrost and add to your favorite dishes.  Recycla uses basil paste in tomato sauces, on pasta, to make pesto, in soups, and more.

See? It couldn’t be any easier.

Tell the Eco Women: What is your favorite recipe with basil?

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4 thoughts on “Preserving basil

  1. Thanks! I’ll definitely be doing this. I only have one lonely basil plant on my kitchen windowsill, but it is flourishing and I’m sure I could get a cup of leaves from it no problem to do a small freezer batch.

  2. I love pesto. Love caprese salad. And really love the Thai basil chicken they had in Cooks Illustrated a few years ago.

    BTW, I can get basil fairly cheap at the Vietnamese grocery store. It’s also where I get my shallots and persimmons and coconut milk.

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