The Basil that I seeded just a few weeks ago is already in need of trimming. Since I want the Basil plants to be full and bushy, I needed to pinch off some of the leaves and stem.
We love fresh Basil, but there’s no way we can eat all of the trimmings. Even though I love Basil, I am not really a fan of pesto. I find it to be too strong tasting, so I need to find a recipe for a lighter pesto.
There are a couple of ways you can preserve Basil. You could dry it – just pinch off the leaves and lay them on a cookie sheet or paper. Spread them out so they are not piled onto each other. Leave them for a few days and once dry, crush them (or store the leaves whole) in a Mason jar. Use whenever you want to add some flavour to soups, stews, salads and the like.
Dried Basil, however, loses its flavour pretty quickly. For this reason I like to freeze Basil and here’s how I do it.
I pinch and trim the leaves.
I then give them a good rinsing and run them through my Salad Spinner. Have you got one of these? If not, you should – they are a great time saver.
I fill ice cubes trays with water and then I just pop a few Basil leaves in each compartment. Put them in the freezer for a day or two.
Once they are frozen individually, I’ll pop them out and put them all together in a Ziplock bag. Back in the freezer they go, to be pulled out whenever we want Basil. One or two Basil cubes will be wonderful in fresh spagetti sauce, tossed into a salad or spread on pizza.
You can’t get much easier than this – make sure you include Basil in your garden this year. It is easy to grow, easy to harvest and easy to preserve. Basil likes a lot of heat and cannot withstand frost – keep this in mind when you plant it.
I put my Basil plants into containers and keep them on the porch. They’re pretty, smell wonderful when you brush against them and convenient to snip a few leaves to include with your meals.
Basil does like to flower early, so keep pinching the top leaves off. This will keep the plant from flowering. Enjoy!