All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2017

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

freezing fresh basil




On a chilly day last September, I was struck by a display at the farmers' market - wild and vibrant stalks of fresh basil. I was curious, so I struck up a conversation with the lady behind the extravagant display. She passed on the amazing revelation that fresh basil could be frozen, without it turning black, as had so often happened in the past with my experiments with that delicious herb. The secret?

Pinch off the leaves while they are bone-dry, and toss into a plastic container, then freeze. She insisted that they would stay green as the day you picked them. You know what? She was right.

I froze some basil leaves, then roughly tore them on a pasta dish. 20 minutes later, they were still aromatic and green. Thirty minutes later, a little blackening, but still green, and that heavenly scent was still there. So there you have it - fresh basil from the depths of your freezer!

The top photo shows the frozen, dry, basil, and the bottom, the torn frozen basil gracing a pasta dish.


Isn't it amazing?



12 comments:

Kate said...

Thanks for asking and passing this tip on. So often basil during the winter months is expensive and I usually don't bother... now, I will pull from my deep-freeze bevy !

katrina said...

Isn't it great, Kate? So glad you also found this to be as great a tip as I thought - and you're so right about those little bunches of fresh basil in little plastic boxes: expensive, and not sure it's been grown without pesticides.

Barb said...

Hi Katrina~

I've frozen basil pesto before, but never fresh basil. Guess I'll have to give this a try now that basil is so plentiful. Won't that be wonderful in January? (along with the fresh, frozen strawberries in my freezer!) You know I get the best ideas from you! Thanks!

Barb said...

It's me again!! I'm thinking about you today and wondering if you are getting a lot of rain as a residual from Hurricane Irene??

katrina said...

Quick message to say I have no power ( thanks, Irene) and not sure when it will be back on. Hope you're enjoying the end of summer!

Anonymous said...

Actually, that is amazing! I've seen methods where it's pureed or something, then frozen in cubes. Glad to know about this. We have a friend who grows it and sent some home the day before we were leaving for several days, so out of desperation, I wet two paper towels, placed the fresh basil between the towels and put it in a zip lock bag leaving an inch or so open for air before placing in the fridge. Guess what? Not a black spot in sight! :)

Hope you're safe!

kellypea said...

And I'm the anonymous commenter above. Who knows how I did that!

katrina said...

Interesting, Kelly! I've found the less moisture there is with herbs and lettuces, the longer they keep in the veg drawer. But freezing dry basil leaves and having them stay green is a new one for me - fantastic!

Farmgirl Susan said...

How neat. I have to try this! xoxo

katrina said...

Hi Susan aka fig:)
No sooner had I frozen a lovely container of basil then....we lost power for three days, and all the basil turned brown . Ah - life in the country! Hope all is well with you!

elizabeth said...

I did this last summer and used the basil in soups all winter long. I'm getting ready to start freezing the leaves again, it worked so well, thanks for sharing this trick.

katrina said...

Delighted it was helpful, elizabeth! I also froze the basil last Fall, just before winter, and it was such a pleasure to inhale the scent of summer! Thanks for letting me know.....