Basil leaves are famous for their medicinal properties as well as their culinary properties. Basil is a rich source of nutrients and is a great addition to a variety of dishes. You can freeze fresh basil and have it handy for your favorite recipes year-round.
Method 1 of 3: Freezing Puree Basil
Step 1. Pluck or cut stems from each basil leaf and discard
You won't need them. If you harvest basil from your garden during the middle of the growing season, cut or break 13 or 15 cm for some stems and leaves to keep maturing.
Step 2. Wash the basil under cold, running water
You can also put it in a bowl of cold water and let it soak. Drain the water from the basil. Put it in a colander and let it drain completely.
Gently press the drained basil with paper towels. Basil is brittle, so press the leaves gently or let them rest between paper towels until they are dry
Step 3. Place one or two handfuls of basil in your food processor
Fill the food processor bowl, but don't put the sheets too tightly together.
Step 4. Use the "pulse" button to chop the basil
This will result in chopped leaves; if you want to make a folder, use your equipment manufacturer's suggested settings. This should only take a few seconds. The finer you want the basil, the longer you have to process it.
Step 5. Spread olive oil over the basil as you process it
Olive oil keeps the basil from turning dark when it's frozen and makes it taste better. You should use about two to three tablespoons of oil for every handful of basil. Using olive oil is optional. If you don't want to, but still freeze the basil in ice cube trays, you can add enough water to make a paste in the food processor.
Step 6. Spoon the chopped basil into ice cube pots or trays in the freezer
If using ice cube trays, you can transfer the basil cubes to larger containers after freezing them for 12 hours.
Step 7. Use the frozen basil
You can leave them in the freezer for months and take them out and use them for recipes whenever you like, especially in the winter months. They will detach from each other easily, so you won't have to separate them. If you're putting them on a hot plate, then just throw in the frozen leaves and wait for them to thaw.
If you have a lot of frozen basil, give some to your friends -- they'll love you for it
Method 2 of 3: Freezing fresh basil
Step 1. Remove all leaves from the stems
You can cut or tear them off.
Step 2. Wash the leaves well in cold water
Use a salad mixer for more effective work. If you don't have one, wash the leaves in a basin and use paper towels to dry them.
Step 3. Put some ice in a bowl of cold water
Step 4. Boil a pot of water
It should be big enough to support the basil leaves.
Step 5. Add the basil leaves to the water and blanch for five to ten seconds
Be very careful to make sure you don't scald them any longer. Move the pan to a different burner to cool down as quickly as possible.
Step 6. Place the leaves in ice water using a slotted spoon
Do this as soon as possible so the basil stops cooking.
Step 7. Place the sheets on a paper towel
This is the part that takes the most time, so be patient. Simply use your hands to place each sheet individually, then use a paper towel to dry them. You can also let them dry naturally for five to ten minutes if you like.
Step 8. Place leaves on baking sheets or plates
Place them individually so they don't touch each other too much. More than one container may be needed.
Step 9. Freeze the sheets
Place the pans in the freezer and wait until they are completely frozen. Then remove them from the freezer.
Step 10. Place the leaves in a container
You can use a zip-lock bag, Tupperware, an empty milk carton, or other container that can seal easily.
Method 3 of 3: Freezing Fresh Basil Quickly
Step 1. Cut the leaves off the stems
Step 2. Wash the sheets well
Step 3. Spread them out on a surface and let them dry for at least 30 minutes
You can use your own sink, a baking sheet or a plate. As stated earlier, you can also use a paper towel to speed up this process.
Step 4. Place the basil in a storage bag
You can layer them loosely, making sure they're completely dry so they don't stick together. A zip-lock bag, Tupperware, or any zippered container will do.
- You can use a finer setting on your food processor if you want to make a basil paste, which can be frozen and used as a sauce. When it reaches the desired consistency, simply place the dough in a sealed plastic bag and place it in your freezer. You can break any size of frozen basil when you want to make the sauce.
- Ice trays work great for frozen basil; each cube is about a tablespoon (15 ml). This gives you the right amount when making sauces and soups. (If the recipe calls for three tablespoons (45 ml) of basil, simply place three cubes in the pan.)
- Use about three tablespoons (45 ml) of oil for every handful of basil you put in the food processor.
- Freezing whole or chopped basil is quicker by placing it with water inside the ice trays. The leaves will be dark after freezing, but will still be tasty.