Basil is one of the common herbs that come with many uses. Many people around the world use it in cooking many recipes. However, if you are someone who wants to store this herb for future use, you might be wondering whether freezing is a good idea.
So, can you freeze fresh basil? Yes, you can freeze fresh basil. However, unlike other herbs, basil is delicate and usually hates cold temperatures. It also darkens when cut so there are things you need to keep in mind.
That said, I included those essential reminders below on how to store fresh basil correctly. I hope that the following strategies are helpful.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in to the tips.
Tips on How to Freeze and Store Fresh Basil
Freezing fresh basil is useful especially if you want to have reserved for year-round cooking. But if you are new to this, you might be wondering how to do it. Well, there are at least three simple ways you can do it.
You don’t have to apply all of these. You just need to choose the one the best suits you.
1. Clean, Dry, and Freeze
The first strategy you can do to preserve basil is to dry it. But before doing so, make sure that you wash and totally clean it. As it dries, remove the stems and keep the dried leaves.
Put the clean dried leaves on a cookie sheet and freeze them. You can transfer the frozen basil into a safer container like a freezer bag. You can keep it frozen until you need it.
2. Blanch and Freeze the Basil
The second tip involves blanching and freezing the basil. Blanching helps retains the wonderful green color of the basil. This is the reason why many experts recommend fruit and vegetable blanching.
You can start by washing the basil and then blanch it for about 15 seconds then throw it into cold water. This stops basil from getting overly cooked.
What you can do next is to dry the basil and flash freeze them. For better results, transfer them to a freezer bag similar to the previous method.
However, there are a couple of other blanching strategies you can use other than the boiling method described above. To give you a clearer idea, I will share with you the three techniques.
The Boiling Method
The blanching technique mentioned in this section is the water boiling method. This strategy involves:
1. Boiling a pot of salted water.
2. Soaking the basil in the boiling water.
3. As the water boils again, about 15 seconds, remove the basil and put them in the cold water.
4. As the basil cools down, drain the extra water, dry it and freeze.
The Steaming Method
In this technique, you steam the basil instead of boiling it. This strategy involves:
1. Boil water in a pot.
2. Place the steamer basket inside the pot for about 3 inches from the water.
3. As the water in the pot boils, place the basil in the steamer basket. Make sure that the basils are laid singularly.
4. Put the cover over the pot for a couple of minutes.
5. After 1 to 1 ½ minutes, place the basil in the cold water.
6. As the basil cools down, drain the extra water and dry.
The Microwave Method
The last blanching strategy you can is the microwave method. This method involves:
1. Place the basil in a microwave dish. The leaves should be laid in single layer.
2. Add water to the dish about ½ cup.
3. After a minute or two, uncover and stir it.
4. Put the basil in the cold water.
5. Drain the basil before freezing.
3. Chop and Freeze the Basil
The third strategy you can do is chopping and freezing the basil. You can do it manually or you can use a food processor to chop the basil coarsely. Add olive oil to the chopped basil and mix them thoroughly to coat the chopped leaves with oil. The oil will prevent the leaves from blackening when freeze.
Put the mixture in the ice cube trays and freeze them. You can transfer the cubes to the freezer bags. You can use bigger cube trays.
If you want to keep the color of the basil when freezing, the last tip is most appropriate. Also, remember that you only need the olive oil if you want to freeze it. Don’t do it if you store the basil at room temperature.
How Long Can You Freeze Fresh Basil?
You can freeze fresh basil for about 6 months. If you want to preserve the green color of the herb, you can use the strategies mentioned above. The last storing method I shared above is what I found the best method to keep the appealing color of the basil.
But if you have better strategies, you can also apply them. In my experience, the more you try different storing strategies the more you learn and definitely find more options. So don’t be afraid to try and experiment a little bit.
Basil is one of the well-known herbs that has many uses. This is the main reason why many people use basil. However, there are many questions with regards to storing basil.
One of the common questions is whether or not fresh basil can be frozen. Fortunately, yes. You can freeze fresh basil. As mentioned in this post, there are many ways you can do to freeze fresh basil.
The tips shared in this post may be helpful to store basil in many ways especially freezing.
However, please consider the fact that there are many techniques out there you can use. The tips shared in this post are just some of the techniques. You might also have come up with your own strategy.
Can I freeze fresh basil without blanching?
You can freeze fresh basil without blanching. You can just freeze the basil leaves or chop them coarsely before placing them in the freezer bag or container. However, when stored this way, basil tends to shrink a little bit.
What to do with basil after you pick it?
After you pick basil, you can store it in a glass or jar of water similar to what you do with flower. Then cover it with a plastic bag.
Can you eat raw basil leaves?
Yes, you can eat raw basil leaves. Many people love to eat raw basil. It tastes spicy and bitter.