Monday, July 28, 2008

How to Freeze Fresh Basil

How to Freeze Fresh Basil

Frozen basil is a wonderful thing to have in the freezer!

(Updated - July 2008) When I wrote a quick little post about how to freeze fresh basil years ago for Weekend Herb Blogging, I didn't realize it would turn into one of the most popular posts ever on Kalyn's Kitchen!  I'm still growing and freezing fresh basil every summer and I decided it's time to update this with better photos and more complete instructions. I'm also adding ideas for using frozen basil after the photos.

If you're a gardener who's growing basil, here are my step-by-step instructions on how you can freeze your basil to use all through the winter.  I do this several times each summer, whenever I have some basil that needs to be harvested. Here's how my basil looked before I trimmed the plants and pulled off the big leaves.

Here's my basil after I trimmed it. Basil will actually produce more leaves if it's vigorously trimmed a few times each year, since everywhere you cut the stem it produces two new stems. Just be sure to keep a few leaves on each stem (remember high school botany, that's where the plant gets food.)

I pinch off all the basil leaves, discard the stems, and wash the leaves very well in a salad spinner. Spin them as dry as you possibly can. If you don't have a salad spinner, just wash your basil leaves in the sink and dry them well with paper towels.

Put a few of handfuls of basil into the food processor, using the steel blade. The food processor bowl should be full, but not tightly packed.

 I pulse the food processor with one hand and drizzle olive oil into the feed tube with the other hand, just pulsing until the basil is coarsely chopped. You should make sure that all the basil is coated with oil too, which keeps it from going dark in the freezer. I use about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil for each batch in the food processor when I'm making coarsely chopped basil like this to use for pasta sauce, soup, or stew during the winter. When I'm making basil puree to add to basil vinaigrette I use more oil and chop the basil much more finely.

I have two sizes of these little plastic containers with tight lids that I use to freeze the basil. It doesn't matter what size container you use, but a good trick is to measure the containers before you first use them. That way, when you pull one out of the freezer for a recipe, you'll know how much it is.

Ideas for Using Frozen Basil:
Basil Vinaigrette for Drizzling on Tomatoes
White Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Roasted Tomato-Basil Dressing
Garbanzo Bean Soup with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Basil
Roasted Tomato Soup with Ground Beef, Sausage, Garbanzos, Macaroni, and Basil
Chunky Pasta Sauce with Sausage, Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic, and Basil
White Bean Soup with Roasted Turkey Italian Sausage, Zucchini, and Basil
Roasted Italian Soup with Garbanzos, Lentils, and Roasted Tomatoes
Roasted Tomato, Italian Sausage, and Basil Sauce for Pasta
Leftover Roast Beef Italian Stew

Other Ideas for Freezing Fresh Herbs and Vegetables:
My Favorite Tips for Freezing Garden Tomatoes, Fresh Herbs, and Vegetables
How to Freeze Fresh Herbs: Rosemary and Thyme
More about Freezing Fresh Herbs: Freezing Thai Basil, Sage, Tarragon, and Mint
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145 comments:

Genie said...

Kalyn, this may be the most helpful bit of information I've read in weeks! Thanks so much for posting this -- I'm definitely going to put it to use, especially now that I have two basil plants.

I have to admit...I've been nervous about cutting the basil back. My two plants are still pretty small, but I want them to start getting bushy so I can use them regularly. How soon do you usually do your first cutting back?

Genie
The Inadvertent Gardener

Kalyn said...

Genie, don't be afraid to cut them back. Sometimes I even trim them more vigorously than the one in the photo. I think as soon as the plant has some good sized leaves you can start cutting it back. I'm usually careful to leave a set of leaves on each stem, but honestly I don't know if it's necessary. That's just a habit I have from "pinching back" houseplants, and I'm guessing the same principal applies here.

sher said...

Great advice Kalyn. I've found that basil does freeze great, if it has oil added to it. And it's wonderful to be able to take out a little frozen cube of it and toss it in soup or some other dish.

Orchidea said...

Adoro il basilico!
My parents in Italy have basil in their garden and they use it fresh but me... here in Sweden... I always buy basil, simply take the leaves off, wash them well and then put them in the freezer. All people I know in Italy also freeze basil when it is out of season.
Ciao.

Kalyn said...

Comments which are unrelated to the content of the post and appear to be nothing more than an attempt to advertise another blog will be deleted. I apologize if this seems harsh, but I learned from experience that if you let people post comments like that, they will do it over and over.

Tanna said...

I've so far been successful at getting my husband to create some area sheltered enough in our mild Texas winter, that I'm able to grow basil all year. But, this will be useful if I have another basil failure like this winter. Thanks for a great tip.

Tanna said...

Well, Kalyn you may not like your winter but I sure don't like our summers! Nobody and nothing is perfect.

Kalyn said...

Orchidea, interesting to know that it's common to freeze basil in Italy. I had read in so many cookbooks that you can't do it, but they're probably by American writers.

Tanna, of course you're right. Before I get too jealous about you growing basil in the winter in Texas, I should think about the hot summers. In Utah summer is pretty nice because of no humidity, although it gets pretty hot here too.

Ivonne said...

I can almost smell that basil from here, Kalyn!

Joe said...

Great tips Kalyn!

Ed Charles said...

Great post. We should have done it while we had loads of basil.

Gabriella True said...

Great post! I hae done it many times but it is great to see it all laid out.

and yes, I do remember the high school botany part.

charles ravndal said...

I am still learning the ropes about herbs and stuff. This is a nice tip. I didnt know that herbs can be frozen. I only learned about the dried stuff.

PatL said...

Yes, I love doing that! I freeze mine in ice cube trays, then put the frozen cubes in a plastic bag. If I do it just right, each cube is 1 T of oily basily goodness! Yum!

Kalyn said...

Ivonne, it did smell good! Nothing like the smell of basil.

Thanks Joe!

Ed, there's always next summer!

Gabriella, can't wait to see what you do with your basil.

Charles, love to help people learn new things.

PatL, I used to use ice cube trays too before I found these little containers. (Great minds thinking alike and all that!)

Christa said...

This is really helpful to know, Kalyn. Usually I make pesto and freeze that, but I've never tried freezing basil on its own. I didn't know ginger root could be frozen too. Thanks for the great tips!

alice said...

Some important things about basil are to never let it flower-keep pruning. Prune the branch to just above a set of leaves to promote side branches. You can prune as low as to leave 3 sets of leaves on the branch. Fertilize every other week with nitrogen fertilizer such as fish emulsion. If you need to prune more than you need, strip the lower leaves, put in water, change water daily and you will soon have rooted cuttings ready to plant for more wonderful plants

Shauna said...

I just found your blog today! Great blog! I will be back again and again as I look for great recipes...
My blog is: http://ca.360.yahoo.com/the.bunnyo I am blogging my attempted to go a year without junk food...

Shauna :)

Ruth said...

Kalyn, I couldn't agree more. Basil is my all time favorite herb. I've tried to grow it, but it's always been a failure, so I just buy it instead. Of course up here in Toronto, the big fat gorgeous bunches are only to be had in summer. The rest of the year we have to buy tiny little packets for the same price!

Thanks for sharing the gardening tips. Maybe I'll try again!

ejm said...

Isn't it amazing that the "covering basil with olive oil entirely before freezing" is not a standard instruction? We only blundered upon it after being devastated by quite black frozen pesto the first time I froze it (some years ago)

Until your post about freezing basil here, I've never seen it spelled out that way. I'm so glad you did.

-Elizabeth

P.S. Thanks for the link! My husband is tickled that you mentioned his brilliance at thinking of serving basil pesto with whole toasted pinenuts. And you really must try it! It's fabulous.

ejm said...

Ruth, you really must try growing basil! You should definitely grow enough to be able to garnish things at least. Our garden is almost entirely in shade and still the basil does grow.

We make pesto from those humungous bunches of basil that are available at the vegetable stores in early September....

-Elizabeth, in Toronto

P.S. Many of the garden centers sell basil in the "vegetable" section rather than the "herb" section. Ruth, you should be able to get 6 plants for about $1.00 in the vegetable area rather than 1 spindly plant for $2.00 (or more) in the herb area. (I know the garden center that is on Christie just north of Bloor has a deal like that...)

gattina said...

Kalyn,
great tips on trimming and freezing, I'll do so before its season finished!

Kalyn said...

Christa, glad to help you learn how to preserve your garden stuff. I grate the ginger while it's still frozen with a microplane grater. It works very well.

Alice, thanks for the tips.

Shauna, welcome.

Ruth, try again with the basil. It's not that termperamental except you should put it where it gets maximum sun if you can.

EJM, glad to hear that your husband was pleased. I LOVE the idea of whole pine nuts.

Kalyn said...

Gattina, I missed you. Don't hesitate to trim your basil and it will fill out the plant even more.

Virginie said...

What a great idea ! Thank you for it. My basil always burns when I try to freeze it. I'll follow your wise advice now.

Nerissa said...

This is wonderful info. In a place where I rarely if ever see basil It's good to know how I can keep the taste of summer in the freezer without resorting to turning it all into pesto.

Cooking Diva tells me that you can freeze lemon grass too.

Kalyn said...

Virginie, try it. It's great for so many dishes.

Nerissa, thanks for the tip about lemongrass. I haven't ever grown it, but I've been thinking about trying. But even when I buy it at the store, I usually don't use it all.

Jennifer said...

So helpful, Kalyn, thanks! I too have often frozen pesto, but sometimes in winter I'd love to have just the basil. Do you use the same method with rosemary and thyme, coating the leaves in olive oil?

Kalyn said...

Jennifer, it will sound crazy, but at the end of the season I just cut off the branches of rosemary and thyme and put them in the freezer in a ziploc bag. Then when I need some I just take a branch and pull the leaves off. They come off really easily when they're frozen.

Luv2cook said...

Great post, Kalyn. One of my friends planted a couple of basil plants but they don't use basil. So they invited me to come to their house to pick some. I went and got a WHOLE bunch. Their plants were upto 3ft high. Now, I know how I save it to use it all year long :).

Thanks, again.

Senait said...

Hi. Wow, I'm new to this whole blogging thing, so please excuse me if I am writing in the wrong area. I was reading these great tips on freezing basil and I love it! I am wondering if anyone can give me tips on growing basil indoors. Can this be done? I live in San Francisco, and I don't have a garden, but I love herbs.

Kalyn said...

Luv2cook, lucky you!

Senait, if you have a really sunny south facing window you could try it, but basil needs a lot of sun. I haven't tried growing it inside.

Mema said...

I've been freezing basil for years. Last year, I tried making basil pesto and freezing individual cubes in ice cube trays, then into freezer bags when frozen. These cube-size portions are great to add flavor to recipes or when my grandsons ask for bowties and "green sauce." This year, I line the trays first with saran wrap, freeze, then lift the whole sheet of saran wrap out--so much easier to remove the frozen cubes. Hope this is helpful to someone.
Mema

Adele said...

Great ideas; very helpful. Do you think this process would work for my other favorite herb "tarragon"?

Anonymous said...

This is so helpful,I love that yu included pictures, thank you.

Can you give some tips on what is the best way to defrost & use frozen basil?

Anonymous said...

After researching how to freeze basil for some time I can finally relax, your instruction with the pictures is perfectly helpful, thank you!

Can you give some tips on defrosting & using frozen basil?

Anonymous said...

I am sorry, I posted the message twice, I am new to blogging!

Kalyn said...

Anonymous, no problem. I try to defrost the basin in the fridge if I can, but you can do it in the microwave. I use it in soups, stews, pesto, and mixed into Italian dressing to make "basil vinaigrette" which is good drizzled over fish, vegetables, and of course, tomatoes.

Kalyn said...

Adele, I apologize, sometimes when comments come when I'm at school I totally miss them. I can't imagine why this wouldn't work with tarragon too.

June said...

Kalyn,
Thanks for the tip...last year I left alot of basil on the plants because I didn't know what to do. I plan to freeze it with a little water in ice cube trays. I will send a yummy email in the middle of winter when I add it to my marinara sauce :-)

June

Anonymous said...

OK, I never thought frozen pesto would be anything like fresh. Well, I just thawed some to have with goat cheese and roasted red peppers. It was FABULOUS! It really CAN be frozen. Your method of freezing with olive oil is perfect! IF I wanted to "brighten" up my pesto a bit I would stick it back in my food processor and add a bit more lime juice (I love the brightness of lime juice in pesto) and that's it. Thank you for offering this information, which I was about to dispute on a cooking forum. I was smart enough to google it first!!!!!! :-)

Anonymous said...

Just Great! I'm new to growing herbs and have several basil ready to start harvesting and was looking for a way to freeze them when I ran upon your site. Thanks
don in Texas

Sue - Rogue River said...

I have grown basil and tomatoes for years to make my own marinara sauce. I have successfully frozen both. For the basil I chop it up and put it into ice cube trays and add water. Freeze solid and put into zip freezer bags. Then it can be thawed or just popped into the sauce.

Peter M said...

Kalyn, I just froze some basil last week but I simply washed, dried and froze the leaves in zip-lock bags (as per an Italian lady's suggestion) but I do see the colour change.

I will likely cull some more basil and I'll try your method as well as I like the preserving the the vibrant green of the basil.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I take basil leaves off the stems and arrange on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer---then I pack the frozen leaves into zip lock bags, date and place back into the freezer. The basil retains its fresh taste in recipes with no added oil.

Kalyn said...

Anonymous, do the basil leaves turn dark when you freeze them this way? I'm usually using them in something where I don't mind the oil, bit I might try your method too. Thanks for letting us know.

holly said...

I"m in Utah and I wondered if it is possible to haul my basil pot inside for the winter, have you tried that or do basil plants have a specified life span? Can't wait to go try freezing some basil now. I planted about 8 or 10 basil plants in a large pot and they are going crazy and they get bushier every time I pluck out the flower heads. Thanks for the great information! HOlly

Kalyn said...

Hi Holly,
Basil is an annual, which means it only lives for a certain length of time. Theoretically you could plant new seeds and grow it inside in the winter, but I doubt you could really get enough sun to do it successfully in Utah. Don't be afraid to cut your basil way back during the summer though. I trim mine 4-5 times each summer and freeze each crop.

LORA said...

I've been using this same method for freezing Basil, but, instead of putting the Basil/Olive oil into small plastic containers, I put it into ice cube trays. ( I have several trays that I use strictly for freezing herbs, as well as some for freezing juice from my Meyers lemon tree). Once frozen, I put the cubes into freezer zip-lock bags and store in the freezer. One cube equals, approximately, one tablespoon of fresh chopped basil. When I need Basil over the winter months I just take out a cube, let it thaw and I'm good to go!

Kalyn said...

Lora, sounds like a good system. I've been thinking about buying some ice cube trays just for this reason, thanks for the reminder!

Coffee & Vanilla said...

I freeze dill, parsley, mint... my mother used to freeze them but I did not know that you can freeze basil, I must try it as it is one of my favourite herbs as well. I have always basil plant on my window :)

Enjoy your weekend, Margot

Audrey Lois said...

I just followed your recipe for frozen basil. Once I collect a bunch, can I use my frozen basil to make pesto?

Kalyn said...

Audrey, I don't think I've tried doing it that way (I just make the pesto and freeze that.) I think it will work, but the basil will be a bit more wet, so you'll probably need less oil. I'd thaw it in the fridge first. Let me know how it turns out, love to try it.

Kalyn said...

Comments before this one are from June 2006 to July 2008, when I updated this post with better photos and more complete instructions.

Helen said...

This is brilliant kalyn. I was wondering how you would do it without them going dark. I will definitely try this.

Lubna Karim said...

Thank you for your advice. Bute in India we get only dried Basil leaves. But i will keep this in mind.

Inquisitive Palate said...

Kalyn: This is such helpful information. I just learned how to keep basil in my kitchen from Ross Parson's book "How to Pick a Peach" -- don't refrigerate, just put in a glass with water on your kitchen counter -- and now your post on saving it for winter cooking. Terrific! My basil is growing abundantly in pots on my back porch and I didn't know what to do with it all. This is very instructive. I'm not surprised that it is one of your most popular posts but thanks for re-posting. Janice

janelle said...

Cool: how about ziploc, do you think that works?

I haven't frozen just basil, but adore freezing pesto in ice cube trays:))). I wrote a post about it and you will laugh, get emails all the time about the cool red ice cube tray (in my photo). I bought it at ikea a few years back:).

I hope you are well, I SO wished I could have made the BlogHer conference this year, but family reunion prevailed.

Cheers,

Janelle

Kalyn said...

Janelle, would have loved to been able to meet you at BlogHer. I think the the plastic containers will make the basil last a bit longer in the freezer, but ziploc bags would work too. You could use the ice cube trays, then pop the basil cubes into zip-loc bags.

Rapunzel said...

Kalyn, what a timely udpate as my basil is overflowing and I hate to lose even a leaf! Thanks so much!

Paz said...

Thanks for the tip, Kalyn.

Paz

ValerieAnne said...

The Japanese beetles are gorging themselves on my basil :(

I read somewhere they only hang out for 1 month so I'm letting my basil be the victim rather than my other veggies. The lower leaves still look good. I can salvage the plant when the beetles go away.

In the past I have successfully saved seeds and grown more basil in the winter. I didn't know I could sprout it in water.


I've done pesto in ice cube trays very successfully. I like pecans in pesto. They have more flavor than pine nuts.

ogcookierooks said...

How timely! Thanks so much. My basil *just took a header off my deck today during a thunderstorm. Fell about 10 feet and broke all but one of its main stems. So I'm sitting here with 4 giant stems full of basil and no idea how to freeze it. You rock!

glutenfreeforgood said...

This is wonderful. Thanks for the information. I've got herbs taking over everything I cook, eat, and drink. I've never frozen herbs before, but I'm dehydrating the heck out of them. It works well, too. I appreciate having another method to save them for later.
Melissa

jenefr said...

Kalyn, do you think this would work with fresh mint or other herbs?

Also, since I didn't have any cute little containers, I put my mix in an ice cube tray and froze it and then put it in a big bag, hopefully they won't get too yucky. (I am hoping for my birthday to get one of those vacume sealers but I think I am getting a fence instead.)

Thanks!

Kalyn said...

Jenefr, yes I do think this will work with other herbs. The only thing to remember is whether that particular herb mixed with olive oil will be useful in winter dishes the way basil is. I think parsley would be a good choice to freeze using this method.

You can freeze many herbs just on the stems, I've written about freezing rosemary and thyme and sage, tarragon, and mint, all of which can be frozen just on the stems, the leaves will fall off when they're frozen.

Shana said...

No wonder this was one of your most popular posts, it is an extremely useful guide to freezing basil.

I will have to try it out with my basil plants soon!

Trish said...

Great ideas. I got a HUGE bag of basil in my CSA share this week and had no idea what to do with that much! Now I do.

Thanks!

Johanna said...

I was reading your post on how to freeze fresh basil...
You can do this with oregano also...
clean and dry the leaves....
chop in food processor..
the take ice cube trays and put the crushed lives in it with olive oil...
making sure its covered with enough olive oil....
freeze it... then pop them out ..
wrap them .. and re refreeze...
you now have individual servings

Anonymous said...

I read your receipe for freezing fresh basil, but I don't have a food processor. Is there any other way to do it? I've tried wrapping in saran wrap or foil, but it turns black.

Kalyn said...

Anonymous, there is no reason you can't chop the basil and mix in the olive oil by hand, it will just take a lot of chopping. The most important thing is to be sure each piece of basil has a thin layer of oil coating it. That's what prevents the basil from turning black.

patricia said...

Hi Kalyn, I really enjoy your blog. I came home from the farmer's market with a huge bouquet of basil and wanted to try your freezing method, but I didn't have small containers and no ice cube trays either. I did have some eggs that were in one of those molded plastic cartons. I washed it well and bingo, I had 24 nice little molds! Thanks for all your great ideas.

Kalyn said...

Patricia, I think that's just brilliant!

BikiniMe said...

Hi Kalyn -- love this idea and can't wait to grow a forest of basil next year in my garden! But as much as I love basil, my favorite herb is cilantro -- do you have a technique for storing cilantro for winter use as well?

Kalyn said...

I haven't ever tried freezing cilantro, so I'm not sure how it would work. I haven't really been able to grow it successfully (snails just mow it down) so I just buy it at the grocery store!

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Thanks so much! This was a great help! I just pulled in my final batch before the temp drops to 27 degrees tonight and wanted to make sure I could save it all in the freezer.

Now, of course, I must poke around your site and see what else you've got going on.

Anonymous said...

Kalyn, My mother swears that she saw something on tv that said there is a way to freeze basil without it going black. She is 80 yrs. old and I didn't believe her. I just recently started playing with a computer, so she said, why don't you see if you can find it on the internet? Well I did and I also found some many other things on your website. Thank you, my mother and I can now freeze basil as well as many other things.

Kalyn said...

Anonymous, so glad it was helpful! Give my best to your mom too.

Kay said...

I'm about to lose a Basil plant that has been overwatered and your directions for freezing will save what's left and make it easier when cooking with basil in the future. First time to your site and it is now a favorite in my "food and beverage" category.

CherylK said...

I'm going out to trim up my basil as soon as I've finished this comment :-) Freezing it with the olive oil is a stroke of genius. Thanks!

Pixie Dust said...

Kalyn, thank you for the info about freezing basil. I have planted basil in between my tomato plants and they now need pruning. I had my first experience with pesto last year - so delish! I will post my results on my blog. Thank you for sharing!!

Sam said...

Thanks for the wonderful information. I was wondering can I use EVOO or does it have to be OLIVE OIL. Thanks again for the post.

Kalyn said...

Sam, EVOO is olive oil, it's the best type. Any type of olive oil will be fine.

Frieda said...

Kaylyn, thank you so much for your basil post! We just started this year, and I never realized I had to trim them. Nice to meet another fellow Utah blogger! Keep up the great work!

Kalyn said...

Frieda, you're welcome. You'll be glad you trimmed it because your basil will produce more, and you'll love having it in the freezer this winter! Utah is getting a pretty good group of bloggers, fun isn't it.

Anna in Arizona said...

Since I have a small freezer with not a lot of extra space I put my pureed basil into small sandwich sized zip lock baggies. I press out all of the air and lay them flat to freeze. Once they are frozen they stack up up-right in the freezer and don't take up much space. When I need some basil for a recipe I just open a bag and break off the right amount.

Kalyn said...

Anna, brilliant idea!

Frieda said...

Kaylyn, I need your help! This is my first time growing basil, and I really appreciated your tutorial on growing basil. I have 3 lovely plants in my yard. Now, I'm getting swiss cheese looking basil leaves. What could be eating up my plants?

Kalyn said...

Frieda, that happens to me too. I suspect it's snails, but I'm not really sure what causes it. I've been known to use snail bait around the edge of the garden, although I don't like to put it close to the herbs. I try to keep the leaves picked, which does help.

Angela said...

I can make regular basil pesto and just freeze it in ice cubes with a thin layer of olive oil on top? Sweet!

Jana said...

Kalyn, I just received some fresh basil from a friend, in the form of numerous sprigs, each of which has a few leaves and a long flower spike, mostly still in the green stage. Do you know if the green flower bracts are edible? They smell like the leaves, and I hate the thought of throwing away all that delicious aroma! Thanks.

Kalyn said...

Jana, I've never eaten the flower part. I don't think it would hurt you, but I doubt that it tastes that good. (Maybe taste some and see what you think.)

foo foo said...

Basil flowers (the small buds actually) are extremely flavorful! We always throw themm into the blender when making pesto. By themelves they are great to add to veggies which you are about to grill. Always snip them off the plants as a lot of energy goes into producing the flowers. You will get more leaves and a much longer season.

Kalyn said...

Foo Foo, good to know. I do always snip them off when they first appear, which may be one reason I've never eaten them. Thanks for the info.

Jana said...

I gave up on saving the flowers; too much work for so little volume! I do think the leaves were a little more bitter than usual; I had read that that happens once it's bloomed. But they were still good enough for homemade marinara, that's still way better than storebought!

~M said...

Hey Kalyn!

Do you know of a way to freeze fresh garlic? We have lots of peeled, fresh garlic in our fridge, too much to use before it goes bad. Thanks!

Kalyn said...

I buy those big jars of pre-peeled garlic cloves from Costco and freeze them, but the garlic does come out a bit softer when it's been frozen. Still perfectly usable though. If there is any other trick to it, I don't know what it is.

andrea said...

Hi, I am new to the site....I have a piece of frozen ginger...can I thaw it out and cut off a chunk to grow indoors or should I start with a fresh never frozen chunk? also I want to grow fresh mint on my windowsill...I bought a small plant last year at the grocery store and the plant slowly died after I snipped off all the delicious leaves! Any suggestions for either would be greatly appreciated!

Andrea

Kalyn said...

I'm afraid I've never grown ginger or grown mint inside, so I don't know what to suggest. Mint is easy to grow outdoors, but I'd guess it might not get enough light in a window.

Anonymous said...

These were great directions! I really loved the pictures. Thanks:)

Lori A said...

I have basil, opal basil, thai basil, lemon basil, spicy basil and dwarf basil. Should I freeze them individually according to their type or mix and match? Can I just freeze the basil and make pesto later of should I make pesto now and freeze? Thanks Lori

Kalyn said...

I personally wouldn't mix the different types of basil, I'd freeze them separately. I would make pesto first and then freeze. I'm not sure how the frozen basil would work for making pesto later.

LeslieRN said...

Thanks Kalyn, for the great pesto freezing tips, etc. I'm going to go and pick some Basil from my garden and get ready to freeze it.

marklipinskisblog said...

Great tip. I'm drowning in basil this summer! Thank you! xoxom

Kalyn said...

Mark, glad it's useful for you!

Jessica said...

I have some basil plants in my garden, thanks for sharing on the storing.

Kalyn said...

Jessica, you're going to love this if you haven't done it before!

Kalyn said...

Just to clarify, this way of freezing basil is not Basil Pesto, which is an Italian type sauce made from pureed basil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. This is chopped basil coated with olive oil, which keeps the basil from going brown when it's frozen.

diana hampo said...

Thanks, I have huge basil plants, they are more like bushes, and I hate to see it go to waste.
Diana

Kalyn said...

Diana, you'll love using this basil in the winter!

Carrie said...

I have been making pesto for the freezer for quite a few years. Last week I went to puree the basil and my cuininart was broken....hummmm Late in the eve I decided to dry well and put in the freezer. I have borrowed a cuininart and plan to make pesto this eve. None of the leaves are black at this time.
Am I best to just leave the leaves until I need them....or can I puree now.
Thank you

Kalyn said...

Carrie, I honestly don't know, but if it was me I would probably puree them with olive oil and then re-freeze. You could leave a few of the ones you have now frozen and see what happens. (And do report back if you experiment, would love to know what happens.)

ducksoup said...

Kalyn.......I've been growing Greek Columnar Basil. It's quite hearty and does not flower.The leaves, however, are a good deal smaller than Sweet Italian Basil. I'd like to freeze the leaves, but do I handle the preservation the same way?
Thanks for your advice.

Kalyn said...

Have never seen this type of basil before but I googled it and I'm fascinated. It looks like the leaves are similar although a little smaller, so I can't think of any reason you wouldn't handle it the same way for freezing.

Cammy & Steve said...

It's the end of the growing season and we just harvested a giant basil bush! The first batch of leaves yielded about 2 cups once processed, and I'm freezing in mini muffin cups but will transfer to permanent containers once frozen. In all the years we've grown herbs, this was the easiest and fastest method for preserving we've ever tried.

Kalyn said...

So glad it worked for you. I love having this basil for soup and stew in the winter, and tomorrow I'm going to trim my plants and do my second batch of the year.

Anonymous said...

I have to say Thank you so much for this post. I realized it is a few years old, however I received an email that my farmers market received a mis-shipment of 10,000 pounds of basil! And the best part, they are giving it away free, first come first serve. I will be going to get some free basil tomorrow and process and freeze it!

Anonymous said...

Thanks that is helpful our basil is 2 ft tall

Kalyn said...

Time for a trim!

CherylK said...

I'm going to try this. I've dehydrated my basil in the past but this would be so much fresher tasting! Thanks!

Carol said...

And years after your post, it is STILL helping folks! I cut back all my basil today - the plants were HUGE. Then I went through what I had cut and took off the good leaves. All last winter, I had to buy basil weekly for my cooking, and I am determined to not do that again. So your description of how to freeze basil is very helpful. Thanks! Now I have to do the same with my rosemary, thyme, cilantro, parsley, and dill.

Kalyn said...

Cheryl, I use this all winter long in pasta sauce, soup, and stews.

Carol, so glad it's helpful for you.

asunda said...

I either process basil with oil or with water and then spread it out on a cookie sheet. Place it in the freezer then when it's frozen I break it up like brittle and keep it frozen for soups and sauces or add other stuff to make pesto. I do this with Kale and Lamb's Quarter and Chard also. A good way to sneak in nutrients with my husband who turns his nose up at chard and kale unless it's saturated with oil and served with potatoes!

Kalyn said...

I hadn't thought of trying it with water; thanks for sharing that.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, this was very helpful and I'm looking forward to having this basil in winter! I put my mixture into small plastic snack bags, doubled.

Kalyn said...

Glad it was helpful and thick plastic bags should work just fine.

Anonymous said...

by adding the olive oil, isn't this like pesto? i made a bunch of pesto with my basil last year and froze it.

Kalyn said...

Pesto has garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese besides the basil and it's much more finely pureed. This basil is barely chopped.

Robinson said...

I press my pesto flat in a freezer bag and freeze it that way. I make the layer thing enough that it's easy just to break off what I need. I love the idea of having a more neutral option since I've been wanting to try using basil in some sweeter dishes.

Kalyn said...

I have heard about people freezing pesto like that and just breaking off as much as they need. I think that would work find for this basil too. Hope you enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

Kalyn, I just discovered your blog with the heading that it was updated in June 2008. What a great find for me. Basil has become my very favorite herb and you are my very favorite blogger for having such fantastic tips for all of us. Bless you for giving us a method to save all of that fantastic taste for winter use. Have a great fall and winter, Margaret

Kalyn said...

Margaret so happy that I have helped you keep your basil to use in the winter!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this awesome idea. I searched out on ways to have a "fresher" way to store my basil in the winter after reading that it is one of several herbs that isn't flavor worthy when dried. Not sure if I agree with that but at least it lead me to your site. I followed your directions and them made 1/4 cup dollops onto a waxed-papered cookie sheet, put them in the freezer overnight, and then transferred the dollops into a freezer bag. Perfect! Thanks again!

Mimi's Kid said...

And here it is...what I didn't see before, when I sent a comment on the basil chicken breasts!

Awesome, this answers my "how" question!

Thank you for the wonderful recipes and for having such a fun and interesting blog. I've been lurking for years now and just had to come out of the woodwork to tell you how amazing this blog is. I'm always recommending it to people!

Kalyn said...

Thanks, and you can also freeze the pesto. Some sources say leave the cheese out but I've frozen pesto with cheese and haven't notice any problem with it.

T said...

Can you use a blender to chop the basil? I don't have a food processor.

Kalyn said...

You might be able to get it to work in a blender, but I am a bit worried that it will chop the basil more finely than you'd want. If you did it that way, I would only buzz for a second or two, then stir, repeating until it's all chopped. You could also chop the basil by hand and then mix with olive oil in a bowl.

Maria said...

Hi Kalyn, I just came across your site. I have rosemary and thyme plants that are overgrown and have a lot of thick stems. . I want to get new growth. What would be the best method of harvesting and preserving.
Maria

Kalyn said...

Maria, at the end of the post above there is a link to a post on how to freeze rosemary and thyme. I trim my herbs way back in the spring every year.

Jana Breza said...

I just discovered your website searching for ways to harvest and store my abundant basil. I also want to harvest my lemon balm. Is it time? How to trim and harvest the herb,so it continues growing? Excellent work/site! Quite amazing, will let my friends know about it! Jana

Kalyn said...

Glad you like the site, Jana. I'm afraid I haven't ever grown lemon balm so I can't give much advice about it. I would try google though; I bet someone has written about it.

Laura said...

Thank you so much for the saran wrap idea!

Sandy said...

Best way I've found with freezing basil is clean the leaves, leave them out to dry off on towels. Once that is done, roll them into foot long logs about 1" thick, and freeze them on a cookie sheet... Once frozen, transfer them to a zip lock bag, and every time you need 'fresh' basil, cut some off with your kitchen scissors...

vab said...

How about if do not have a food procesor,is it ok to use a blender? or even chop it with a knife?

Kalyn Denny said...

I haven't done it with a blender, and truthfully I worry that it will chop the basil too finely. If you don't have a food processor, I'd probably just chop up the basil with a knife and mix with olive oil in a bowl.

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