I’ve never had good luck with growing herbs, but I really am trying. What often happens is I get excess from neighbours and friends or any of the local farms. People often have carts in front of their property with an honesty box selling their home grown vegies and herbs. I love these types of operations because you can get a pumpkin bigger than your head for $2 and it lasts forever!
But today’s post isn’t about pumpkin, even though we always have an abundance of them. I have some basil growing and its flourishing. It’s getting taller instead of bushier which makes me think I should change the planter it is currently in. I often end up buying several batches of basil to cook with because I don’t want to disturb what I have in the garden. The basil plants are full of leaves and will get to the point they’ll need picking. So my next step will be to preserve them as best I can, just in time for the weather to turn cold and the frost to kill them.
I want to save as much of the basil as possible to use over the coming months. One of the best ways to do it, whether buying in bulk or from grown is to freeze them with oil in ice cube trays. The below is the easiest and most full proof method in doing so:
- Pick a large bowl of basil leaves and wash them well.
- Pull all the leaves off the stalks and put them in a food processor and give them a quick blitz
- Pour extra virgin olive oil in to loosen the mix. For every cup of leaves (packed in well) add about 1/4 of a cup of oil.
- Once the leaves are processed, spoon the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze for several days before turning out and popping in a snap lock bag for longer term storage.
When you need some fresh basil in you cooking, just grab an ice cube or two and whack it in. Delicious fresh basil flavour all year round.
This method works well with any soft herb such as parsley, coriander, fennel, thyme, or oregano. Herbs like rosemary, which are woodier, still work, however their texture in the final food is sometimes a bit lumpy and woody.
How do you preserve extra herbs? I’m thinking of trying dehydrating and freeze drying, and would love to get one of those fancy freeze dry machines (but they cost soooo much!).
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