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There’s nothing like walking out onto your deck and picking fresh basil to add to a recipe. But sadly, for much of the year in Minnesota, that is not an option.
I am a terrible gardener, but I’ve always been successful with basil. It grows gangbusters for me, for some reason.
Several years ago, I looked into various ways to preserve my harvest. To maintain freshness, I decided against drying. I found a number of different methods of freezing herbs. Some involved water as a base, some oil. I tried both methods and have settled into what I like best. Olive oil.
This is such an easy process, y’all.
Here’s what you need:
- Basil leaves
- Olive oil
- Ice cube trays
The first time I made these, I chopped the basil, put it in the trays and filled with olive oil. That works fine, but I’ve discovered a much easier method that gives better results. I use my blender/food processor.
You can wash your leaves…I’m lazy and don’t. I give them a shake to get off any bugs that might have sneaked in when I picked them. Of course if the leaves are dirty, from a heavy rain stirring up the soil, or whatever, wash them. (That falls into the Duh category)
Put the leaves into your blender/processor and pour a little oil over the top. I don’t measure, because you’ll end up adding more anyway. All you want is enough oil to get things moving in there. Maybe 1/2 cup?
If you’ve made homemade pesto before, you’re familiar with this process. If you wanted to, you could blend the leaves to a paste here, like that. I don’t, though. I’m just going for a sort of fine chop. It’s never perfect, and that is OK with me. I am not a perfectionist. A few bigger pieces are yummy, I think. But blend as finely as you prefer.
Next you just take a spoon and scoop spoonfuls into your ice cube trays. I usually fill each one about 1/2 full.
Then you pour olive oil over the top. It helps prevent browning.
After they’re frozen, pop them out and store in a labeled Ziploc bag. I use mine all year, mostly in spaghetti sauce, lasagna, and things like that. But you can use them in lots of ways…be creative!
In the deep of winter, while I can’t walk outside and pick fresh basil, this is a close second. It’s a fresh taste of summer when there’s snow on the ground.
I’d love to hear how you’d use these little frozen gems.