Do you have a bumper crop of basil in your garden? Learn how to preserve basil at home, so you can enjoy it all year long!
Basil is an easy to grow herb that’s a favorite among gardeners. Basil tends to be a prolific plant- and just a couple plants can produce enough basil for an entire year’s worth of use!
But if you’re like me and use basil as a companion plant and grow LOTS of basil plants each year, you may be wondering how to preserve basil so that it doesn’t go to waste and you can use it all year long.
Here are 10 different ways you can preserve basil- and enjoy it’s amazing flavor all year long!
10 Ways to Preserve Basil- and Enjoy it All Year Long!
Preserve Basil By Drying
Dehydrating and drying basil is probably the easiest way to preserve basil.
It’s relatively quick and very easy, and the final dried basil will last a long time.
The only downside to drying basil as a method of preservation is that you will lose some of the flavor.
That being said, I still use dehydrating as my main way of preserving basil.
You can either dry basil in an electric dehydrator or hang it to air dry.
Here are the full instructions on how to dry basil: How to Dry Basil in 2 Methods
Preserve Basil By Freezing
Freezing is another great way to preserve basil for longer storage. Unlike drying, freezing will preserve the full flavor of fresh basil.
The downside to freezing is that it takes up room, isn’t shelf stable (needs electricity), and the color will be affected.
There are a couple different options for preserving basil by freezing:
Note: Blanching the basil before freezing can help it retain the color better, but the flavor will change. I prefer to not blanch since flavor is more important to me than color.
Freeze Basil in Oil
First, you can preserve basil by freezing it in olive oil.
All you need is to chop your basil in small pieces and place them into an ice cube tray. A food processor is a great option for this!
Fill the tray with olive oil, making sure all of the basil is submerged.
Alternatively, you can pulse the basil and olive oil together in the food processor to form a paste and then place the paste into the ice cube tray.
Freeze the cubes until solid and then move them into a freezer bag and return to the freezer.
These cubes can be used thawed or frozen. Just throw a cube in the pot or pan before cooking!
Freeze Basil in Water
If you don’t want to use olive oil, you can also use water to freezer your basil in.
The process is pretty much the same:
Chop the basil into small pieces and pack into an ice cube tray. Cover the leaves with water.
You can also pulse the water and basil together to form a paste before filling the trays.
Freeze until solid and then move to a freezer back for longer storage.
Freeze Basil by Itself
Basil can also be frozen all by itself. The color and texture may change a little, but it will be just as flavorful as ever!
Get the complete tutorial on how here: How to Freeze Basil
This frozen basil can be added to sauces, soups, stir-fries- anything you’d like!
Preserve Basil in Pesto
Pesto is probably the most well-known dish made with basil- and it’s a great way to preserve basil!
All you have to do is make your pesto as usual and then place it in small containers, jars, or even ice cube trays and freeze.
Note that basil oxidizes easily, which means it will brown when exposed to air. Adding a layer of oil to the top of your pesto container before closing will help prevent this.
Basil pesto can be frozen for up to a year.
Preserve Basil in Salt
Yep! You can preserve basil in salt! It’s a great way to preserve leafy herbs to help them retain their flavor.
To preserve basil is salt, all you need is basil and salt (I prefer sea salt).
The ratio to use is 4 parts basil to 1 part salt (ie. 4 cups chopped basil to 1 cup salt).
Simply place clean, dry bail into a food processor. Add salt and process for about 30 seconds or until the basil has been chopped fairly small.
Store the basil salt in the fridge. It should last about 6 months. Drying the herbed salt overnight before storage can help it last longer.
Use it just like you would salt and basil in recipes!
Preserve Basil by Infusing
You can also preserve basil by infusing into other liquids. Here are a couple options to try:
Infuse Basil in Oil
To preserve basil in olive oil without freezing you’ll need basil, olive oil, and salt.
Wash and dry your basil. Make sure it’s very dry.
Place a little salt at the bottom of your jar, add basil, pour olive oil on top. Continue to layer salt, basil, and oil until your jar is full.
Store in the fridge for up to 3-4 months. Be sure to check the quality before use.
Infuse Basil in Vinegar
You can also preserve basil by infusing it into vinegar.
You’ll need a few sprigs of basil- up to 1/2 a cup. Place the basil in a quart jar and add vinegar.
You can use any kind of vinegar you’d like. Apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar are great options. Choose one that you like the taste of and would use often.
Let the basil infuse in the vinegar for 2-4 weeks by placing it in a sunny window.
Then strain out the herbs and store the vinegar in a cool, dark place.
Basil vinegar should last up to 6 months, especially if stored in the fridge.
Use it for salad dressings, sautés, or marinades.
Infuse Basil in Honey
You can also preserve extra basil in honey!
Combine 1 cup of honey and 1/2 a cup of coarsely chopped basil in a small saucepan.
Heat over medium-low until the honey just starts to bubble.
Stir well and remove from heat.
Allow the honey and basil to steep, covered, overnight.
Reheat slightly and strain the herbs out of the honey and store in a mason jar.
Alternatively, you can keep the basil in the honey and store in jars. Your basil infused honey may not last as long this way.
Grow Basil Year Round Instead!
And finally, if you really want access to basil all year round- grow it!
Basil grows well in containers and it’s an easy to grow herb that is quite happy in a sunny windowsill.
So, if you’d like access to fresh basil, just bring one inside!
Want to learn more about preserving and using herbs? Read these: