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Dried Basil
Photo Credit: Mystuart

Basil is a relatively easy to grow herb that is used in many recipes. Whether you are making pesto sauces, tomato sauces, or anything else, fresh basil is a must. However unless you spaced out your plantings then you will probably run into an overabundance of basil leaves that are ready for harvest all at once. So then you have to decide whether you want to use them all or store some for later use.

There are a few different options you can choose that will let you store your basil for later use throughout the year. The first option is to freeze the fresh basil. To do this first cut the leaves from them stems. Next wash the leaves and allow them time to thoroughly dry. After they are dried you can put the leaves in layers in a freezer storage bag. Then place them in your freezer. Some people prefer to blanch the leaves before you freeze them. To do this, you will dip the leaves in boiling water for just two seconds. Next the leaves are quickly transferred to an ice bath. After this allow the leaves to dry and put them in storage bags. Finally place the bags in the freezer.

A second option to preserve your basil is to make a basil puree. The leaves are first cleaned and then placed in a food processor or blender. Coarsely chop the leaves for just a few seconds. Add a bit of water and blend it so it becomes slushy. Next pour the slushy liquid into ice cube trays. Once the cubes have frozen they can be moved into a freezer storage bag and used as needed. Some people like to use olive oil instead of water to make their puree.

The third option is to dry your basil. You should clip the leaves from the stalk and put them on a mesh screen so they can dry out. Move the leaves a little every day so all parts of the leaf can dry out. Once the leaves are completely dry you should store them in an airproof container. To speed up the process you can lay the leaves on a parchment lined baking tray. Set your oven to the lowest temperature you can. Next let the leaves bake for about 2 hours. When the leaves are dry crumble them and store them in an airtight container.

Now you have three options to enjoy the basil you harvested throughout the year. Try one or try them all. Basil is such a great herb and will give your meals an extra special flavor.

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