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.

basil Apr 24 11 300x225 Preserving Basil

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.

salad spinner 300x225 Preserving Basil

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.

Basil Apr 24 11 2 225x300 Preserving Basil

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.

  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.

  3. 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

    • 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!