Harvesting & Preserving Basil

This is a little bit of a review post. I did a post about preserving basil a couple years ago, and we tried several methods. This year I stuck with the one method that I liked the best from before: freezing in oil. We decided that most of the applications we use the frozen basil for would not be hurt by a tablespoon of oil.

The same day I picked a bunch of lemongrass, I also cut what I wanted from our Thai basil plant and a few stalks from the sweet basil plant. The sweet basil we used fresh for pizza and to make the kitchen smell nice, because we still have some sweet basil ice/oil cubes in the freezer. The Thai basil was what we wanted to preserve, because we like making Thai dishes in the winter.

The Thai basil had gotten a little bit stemmy and gone more to flowers in the last month before I picked it, so I had to go through and pick off the clumps of leaves.

I also picked off much of the flowers separately, thinking I might freeze them apart from the leaves. In the end, I just decided to throw them in with everything else.

I chopped it all up in our food processor, and then put it in the ice cube trays, covered with grapeseed oil. Then, after 24 hours, I discovered that grapeseed oil doesn’t solidify in the freezer like olive oil. ARGH! It was kind of funny though, because there were these frozen bits of basil leaves floating in not frozen oil. At that point, I transferred the whole mess into a couple of 1 cup plastic storage containers and threw them back in the freezer. After all, it isn’t so important that the oil solidifies as it is that it protects the basil from oxidation and otherwise getting brown and slimy.

About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on November 28, 2012, in Harvesting & Eating and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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