Do you have a bumper crop of fresh basil from your garden? Learn how to freeze basil so you can enjoy this tasty herb all year round!
Basil is an abundant summer time herb, but unfortunately unless you live somewhere frost free, you’ll need to figure out how to preserve your basil harvest if you want year round basil.
Luckily, basil preserves very well- so all that’s left to do is decide how you want to preserve it!
I preserve 99% of my basil in one of 2 ways:
Both of these are easy to do and will allow you to have that homegrown basil flavor all year long.
If you’d like to learn how to dry basil, check out my tutorial on dehydrating basil. If you’d like to learn how to freeze basil- keep reading!
Never grown basil before? Learn how with my article on How to Grow Basil.
Pros and Cons of Freezing Basil for Preservation
You might be wondering why you should choose freezing over other ways to preserve basil.
The main benefit of freezing basil is that the full flavor of the basil will be retained. This is in contrast to drying, where some flavor is lost.
On the con side, frozen basil isn’t shelf stable, so it does require electricity to store.
But really, you can’t go wrong either way.
How to Freeze Basil- the Easy Way!
To blanch or not to blanch. That’s a common question when it comes to freezing as a method of preservation.
Some people do blanch basil leaves for 15 seconds. This is mostly to preserve the color of the basil. But cooking does affect the flavor some.
I am more concerned with having the full basil flavor, so I skip blanching. Added bonus- it makes a freezing basil so easy!
To freeze basil, remove all of the leaves from the stems. You want to freeze the leaves only.
Next wash and dry the leaves. A salad spinner makes drying a breeze.
I’ll be honest, I skip this part most of the time, unless there is visible dirt on my basil. But my basil is homegrown and organic.
Next, lay the basil on a baking tray. A single layer is best, but if you have a ton of basil like I do, you can just pile it on the tray- it’s fine!
Stick the tray in the freezer until completely frozen.
Transfer the frozen basil leaves to a freezer bag or use a vacuum sealer.
I recommend leaving the basil leaves as whole as possible and not crushing them. This preserves as much of that flavor as possible.
The leaves will likely get broken and crushed as the bags get moved around your freezer (as you can see in the picture below), but that’s okay. Just don’t purposely crush them.
That’s it. That’s all there is to freezing basil. It’s super easy and takes next to no time.
How to Use Frozen Basil
You can use frozen basil just like you would fresh.
I use it in my roasted tomato sauce when I use frozen tomatoes to make sauce in the off season.
Throw it in a soup pot.
Toss it in your pasta.
The only thing I wouldn’t do is toss it in a salad- because freezing will change the texture. But any cooked dish is fair game.
If you’d like more ideas on preserving basil, here’s a list of 10 Ways to Preserve Basil at Home.
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