Preserving Basil

Gardening can be a lot of work folks.
Planting, weeding, watering….no matter how small your garden is,
there’s always something to be done. 308
But the work doesn’t end outside.
We grow all of this food to eat, after all.

harvest

We’ll still get some fresh goodies throughout the cooler months,
but a lot of our winter diet will be foods that we preserve now.
It’s a lot of work at the moment, but come January I’ll be thanking myself.
This week’s project is harvesting and preserving the last of our summer basil.

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My favorite basil dish is a fresh caprese salad,
and my Mama just so happens to make the best ever.
Mama, if you’re reading this….hint, hint.

caprese

But it won’t stay fresh forever, so preserve I must.

Pesto

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I add pesto to everything from pasta to chicken salad.
You can eat it fresh, or can it for use all winter long.
This is one of my absolute favorite versions!

P.S. If you haven’t checked out Shaye’s new cookbook “Family Table”, you’re missing out!
She’s the queen of homegrown, fresh, delicious meals from scratch.
She puts an amazing spin on farm fresh dishes and makes them simple for us busy home cooks….
aaaand I pretty much want to be her when I grow up.

family-table

You can check it out and get your copy here.
PLUS, if you order now, you will have access to her amazing Whole Foods Kitchen Course.
You’ll learn all about how to produce your own food, plan your meals to make life easier and cooking more enjoyable, and stock your pantry with healthy foods.
I can’t flipping wait to take this course!

whole-foods-course

Dried Basil

One of the easiest ways to preserve basil is to simply dry it.
I built this super simple herb drying rack last summer & absolutely love it!
Just wash the basil, pat the water off, then hang it upside down to dry.
You want to dry them whole to preserve the flavor.
I use twine, but whatever you tie it with,
be sure to get it extra tight because it will shrink as it dries.
You can leave it there to pinch off as needed, or bottle it up.
Here are the perfect little herb jars.

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Frozen Basil

Another option is to simply freeze it.
I end up freezing a lot of our produce because it’s super quick,
and I can actually get it put up before it goes bad…..
not that this homestead-ey blogger would ever let that happen, ahem.

1. Remove the leaves from the stems
2. Blanch the leaves in boiling water for a few seconds
3. Transfer them to a bowl of ice water
4. Dry them completely & store them layered between parchment paper
in a freezer safe container so they don’t freeze together in a big lump.

Basil Cubes

Making basil cubes is a great way to add a burst of fresh flavor to all sorts of dishes.
Drop one in your soup or pasta, top off a delicious piece of fresh fish,
make your own salad dressing.
Bam! All kinds of flava.

Clean and dry fresh basil.

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Finely chop and add to ice cube trays, filling 3/4 of the way full.

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Top with olive oil.

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 Freeze, then place in freezer safe bag or container.

What’s your favorite way to eat or store basil?
Share in the comments section below!

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