Weekend Kitchen Tip – Extra Basil

Fall is here and it’s basil harvesting time!  Actually you should be doing that all the summer long.  The more you cut, the more it will produce for you.  What do you do with your extra basil?  I like to freeze the extra basil from my garden.  You can also freeze the fresh basil you might purchase at the farmers market or grocery store.  Anyway you come by fresh basil, don’t let it go to waste.  This way when your recipe calls for fresh basil in the winter, all you have to do is pull it out of the freezer to add it to your dish.

Wash the leaves and dry them well.  Place them into your food processor with a little olive oil and pulse.  I don’t want a paste so I just give it a few taps on pulse and I can get chopped or finely chopped leaves.  Next you have lots of options.  You can use your ice cube trays, freezer containers or plastic wrap to contain the basil.  I will often use the sticky plastic wrap.  This way I can portion out just what I need instead of thawing a large container when I only need a little.  Now if I have a lot of basil that I would use for a pesto, I’ll use a container but still on the small size.  I’m only freezing it in sizes I would cook with.

What about the stems?  Don’t waste the basil stems, especially later in the year when they are a little thicker.  Heat up some extra virgin olive oil and add the stems.  Let them heat together for 20-30 minutes.  What a great flavored oil to use in salads or cooking.  It will only last about a week so if you make a lot, share.

How do you save your extra basil?

Basil and Oil ready to freeze

Basil and Oil ready to freeze

Basil wrapped

Basil wrapped

6 Responses to Weekend Kitchen Tip – Extra Basil

  1. Kim September 19, 2009 at 9:23 am #

    Great tip! I have tons of Basil now!

    • Diane October 2, 2009 at 6:29 am #

      Kim- The great thing about basil is the more you cut it the more it grows!

  2. Ali September 19, 2009 at 6:29 pm #

    Great post Diane! We have loads of basil in the garden right now that needs harvesting. Usually we make pesto and a lot of it. I freeze the pesto in ice cube trays and then transfer to a large container. To use, just thaw it out and stir into hot pasta or a bean soup…mmmm, yum!

    I will have to try your idea as well, sounds easier than making pesto! 🙂

    • Diane October 2, 2009 at 6:32 am #

      Ali- You know I can get impatient. Bad habit. Not being able to have dairy also was the reason I started just keeping it to basil and oil. Isn't it great to have this on hand!

  3. Stephanie August 14, 2010 at 6:51 pm #


    Can this great tip be used with other leafy excess herbs, like cilantro, mint, etc? I tend not to use as much as I normally buy of these things, and don't have the greenest thumb for growing them.



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