Preserving Basil

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. Leve 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 it from flowering. Enjoy!


  1. I was JUST wondering what to do with the excess basil I have taking over my patio. And now I know! I think you may have read my mind.

    • avatar Annie says:

      Doing it this way also works well for times when you only have a few leaves, makes it easy.

  2. avatar cicerosings says:

    Dropping some leaves into fresh tomato sauce in the ice cream trays is also a nice option … 3 cubes of basil/tomato sauce works for a single portion of my creamy tomato pasta. Oh yum.

    • avatar Annie says:

      You bet Cicero!

  3. avatar Heidi von Weitzer says:

    Thank you so much for your great tip. I love the scent of Basil. For this reason I grow lots of bushes which I use a cut flower. In summer the basil scent in my home is ever so familiar with my friends. it never dawned on me that I could freeze it, so thank you for your tip.

    Fondly Heidi

    • avatar Annie says:

      Heidi, I always seem to be pinching the tips so mine don’t go into flower. But some always do get away on me, so I will cut them and have them in a small vase in the house. I had never thought of that, thank you for your tip!