Freezing Basil

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basil in bags ready to freeze

Freezing basil is really simple and this step by step photo tutorial will show you how just how quickly you can do it.

You can grow it indoors, but some people aren't very 'green thumbed' and so buy fresh growing herbs at the supermarket. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, the plants keel over and begin to wilt. There are good reasons for this, which aren't always your fault - see this page about 'Why do Supermarket Herbs Die'.

I bought this specimen pictured below - it was marked down and I couldn't resist the bargain!

I use a large poly box to keep my frozen herbs in - label them before you put them in as they all look very similar when they're frozen.

You can use frozen basil straight from the freezer in soups or pesto. 

There's no need to blanch the leaves, they're absolutely fine to freeze straight away with no fiddling about.

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Simple Steps to Freezing Basil

basil in a pot

This basil plant was on offer at the supermarket.

As you can see, it was a bit past its best, but still perfectly useable. 

I wasn't going to use it quickly, so I decided the best bet would be to freeze it.

basil leaves stripped from plant

The first step to freezing herbs is to cut the stems off the plant.

I took this down to the bottom of the stalks using a pair of kitchen scissors.

I use it mainly for pesto or tomato soup and sauces. It's always chopped or processed, so the stalks don't matter and they have exactly the same flavour and properties as the leaves.  I use fresh whole leaves for garnish, but if I'm adding basil to a recipe, then it really doesn't matter as it's the taste I want.

basil leaves divided between two bags

The basil plant was very small and quite dehydrated, so I only got around 25g (1 ounce) off it.

I split it into two small plastic bags.

Each will be enough to make a pesto or add to tomatoes for a pasta style sauce - the sort of quantity where they say 'handful' of basil in the recipe.

air pushed out of bags

Before freezing, squeeze the air out as much as possible then tie the bags.

Be careful not to crush it - when I defrost it, I can normally find one or two leaves to garnish if I want to.

When you use it, you can either add it straight from the freezer or allow it to defrost.

More Basil pages which will be useful to you

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Freezing Basil


It's so easy to freeze basil. Here are simple step by step instructions with photographs. You can use it straight from the freezer in recipes.

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Yield: any

Main Ingredient: basil

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