How to Freeze and Dry Basil (other Herbs)
If you are like me you love the smell and taste of fresh
herbs. During the summer when they are abundant and inexpensive wouldn’t it be
great if you had a way to keep them and use them throughout the year?
Well one way is to freeze them, pack them in ice cubes, or
freeze in layers, or even freeze in olive oil. The other option is to dry them
which was the way most families utilized decades ago on the family farm.
At FM Aquaponics Farm we have fresh basil year-round and we
sell it in 4 oz bags. Sometimes you can’t use all of it so I’ll describe how
you might preserve it using both methods.
One option is to chop the basil leaves and ack them into
ice-cubs trays adding just enough water to cover and freeze. After frozen you
can store them in a freezer bag or rigid container. A second option is to roll fresh leaves
(without chopping) into a snack bag rolling them tightly, seal and secure with
rubber bands then freeze. When you want to use them remove from the bag and
chop off what you need and return the remainder to the freezer.
The old fashion method is to tie small bunches of basil and
hang them in a warm dark place in your home. Rinse them well under cool water,
lay them to wilt and dry in the sun then tie them up and hang. An added benefit
of this method is you may be able to enjoy the aroma of the basil days or weeks
as they dry.
Present day the most common approach is to dehydrate them
with an electric dehydrator. This method is very effective in preserving the
flavor and when its done you can crumble the leaves into a small mason jar for
storage. A small mason jar should accept the lids from a parmesan-cheese
container so you could quickly have a shaker for your basil.