freeze basil

Can You Freeze Fresh Basil Leaves?

Summer is the perfect time to stock up fresh herbs. Whether harvesting from your backyard garden or getting from a local market, nothing beats the vibrant aroma of freshly picked basil leaves.

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If you have much more than you can use, you might be looking for ways to preserve them.

Dried herbs are easy to find on supermarket shelves. What about the frozen version? Can you freeze basil leaves at home?

The short answer is, yes! In this article, we share the ultimate guide to freezing basil leaves, so you can use them throughout the year.

Various Ways to Freeze Basil

Freezing is always an easy, go-to method to preserve almost any kind of food at home, including the bountiful basil leaves.

In terms of texture and color, frozen basil won’t be similar to the fresh one. It will become limp when thawed, but the flavor stays.

When it comes to freezing, you have a few options for how you can do it.

Freezing Whole Basil Leaves (with blanching)

For long-term freezing, say longer than 2 to 3 months, blanching is highly recommended because it helps preserve the bright green color.

Here is our simple guide to freezing basil leaves.

  • 1. Select fresh leaves, discard any darkened or bruised leaves.
  • 2. Wash them thoroughly, remove the stem, and dry completely.
  • 3. Bring a pot of water to boil and blanch the leaves for 2 to 3 seconds or until they wilt.
  • 4. Plunge blanched leaves immediately in an ice bath.
  • 5. Dry them completely.
  • 6. Line a tray with parchment paper and spread the leaves evenly in a single layer.
  • 7. Flash freeze for a few hours.
  • 8. Pack frozen leaves in a freezer bag.
  • 9. Seal tightly and mark with the freezing date.
  • 10. Transfer the package to the freezer.

Freezing Whole Basil Leaves (without blanching)

You might be wondering whether or not you can freeze fresh basil leaves without blanching. Yes, you can freeze them unblanched, particularly for short-term freezing.

  • 1. Select fresh leaves, discard any darkened or bruised leaves.
  • 2. Wash them thoroughly, remove the stem, and dry completely.
  • 3. Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper.
  • 4. Spread the leaves on the baking sheet.
  • 5. Flash freeze for a few hours to allow each leaf to freeze individually.
  • 6. Pack frozen leaves in a freezer bag.
  • 7. Seal tightly and label with the freezing date.
  • 8. Transfer the package to the freezer.

Freezing Chopped Basil in Ice Cubes Tray

  • 1. Choose fresh leaves, remove the stems, and rinse thoroughly.
  • 2. Chop them or use a food processor.
  • 3. Prepare ice cube trays.
  • 4. Fill each cube halfway up with water or oil.
  • 5. Add the chopped leaves.
  • 6. Flash freeze until they are completely solid.
  • 7. Transfer frozen cubes to a freezer bag.
  • 8. Seal it tightly, write the freezing date, and put it back in the freezer.

Freezing Basil Puree

If you intend to use the herb for stews or vinaigrette, freezing basil puree might be the perfect method for you.

  • 1. Choose the freshest leaves.
  • 2. Remove the stem, wash, and dry them thoroughly.
  • 3. Puree basil leaves using a food processor, adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil per 1 cup of leaves.
  • 4. Pour the puree into ice cube trays.
  • 5. Flash freeze for a few hours until completely solid.
  • 6. Transfer frozen puree to a freezer bag.
  • 7. Seal it tightly, write the freezing date, and put it back in the freezer.

Thawing and Using Frozen Basil

Frozen basil leaves are very convenient to work with. When it comes to thawing, simply leave them on the counter while you are preparing other ingredients.

In most cases, you don’t even need to thaw them. You can directly throw them in the pan and let them melt while cooking.

Fresh basil leaves are perfect for salads, pizza, cocktails, sorbet, and many other recipes. Meanwhile, the frozen version is not the best choice for garnishes or topping because it becomes limp after thawing. But, it does the job for any cooked dishes.

Although the frozen version seems to have limited use, you’ll never run out of delicious recipes to use up your supply. Here are some of our favorites.

  • Add to pasta sauces
  • Make basil vinaigrette
  • Use in soup and stews
  • Marinate chicken or meat before roasting
  • Sprinkle to an omelet

How Long Can You Freeze Basil?

Basil leaves are best to use within 4 to 6 months after freezing for their best flavor. But, they are generally fine to keep up to 12 months. It is possible to stretch the storage time a little longer. But, prolonged freezing is more prone to freezer burn and a decrease in flavor.


FAQs

Can you freeze butter basil?

Yes. Making butter basil is an excellent way to preserve the fresh herb. It can stay for up to two months in the fridge. For freezing, wrap the butter in wax or parchment paper, pack in a freezer bag, and freeze for up to six months.

How do you preserve basil pesto?

Freezing pesto is a no-brainer method to prolong its shelf life. Whether you have a large batch of sauce or salvaging leftovers, you can quickly freeze pesto in ice cube trays, flash-freeze until frozen, bag them, and freeze for up to three months.

What can I do with too much basil?

Basil leaves are incredibly versatile to use in many recipes. You can make the fresh herbs into pesto, mix in butter, use salads, pizza, or cocktails. If you want to preserve them for later use, freezing or drying is the way to go. Follow our tips above to freeze the herb successfully.

Summary

Freezing basil leaves is definitely a simple kitchen hack you should give a try. It is an easy, straightforward method to preserve your summer bounty.

You have a few options on how to freeze basil leaves; freezing the whole leaves (blanched or unblanched), chopped leaves, or as a puree. With a few preparation steps, you can keep the herb all year long and have it ready anytime you need. Just in case you run out of basil, there are many basil substitutes you can choose.

frozen basil leaves

*image by AndreySt/depositphotos

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