The Best of Basil!

by Bay Mountain AG

The Best of Basil


By Debbie L.

Bay Mountain AG


Everyone loves basil and it is so easy to grow!  And, if you planted basil this year, by mid-summer you have some good-sized plants and are using it fresh in all sorts of things!  Yum!


But if you’re like me, your good size plants are really a good size garden patch, and outside of giving it away, you are wondering how to preserve your basil bounty.


Drying and making basil pesto are 2 ways to preserve large amounts of basil.


Drying:  a dehumidifier works, but air drying gives a better taste, and allows you to preserve larger quantities. FYI: moisture turns dried basil black and moldy, so drying the plant is paramount! Cut the basil stems 7 to 8 inches long and soak them in a pan of cool water. After 15 minutes, discard any bad pieces in the pan, and place the basil in a strainer and run cool water through it.  Let the strainer drip for a few minutes, batch the stems and run them in a salad spinner to extract more water.  Place the basil on paper towels and dry on the kitchen counter until the basil looks air dry (30 minutes approx.).  Place the basil pieces in a brown paper grocery bag, about ¼ full.  Lay the bag on its side and set aside in a dry place.  The basil will air dry in the bag in a few weeks, and you will be able to consolidate your papers bags into jars of basil that are ready for winter use and herbal blends.   


Pesto:  Making pesto with basil and oil is a quick way to use up a lot of basil and preserve a great taste. Run washed basil through a food processor with oil, and a little lemon juice to make a paste. Freeze in ice cube trays and store the frozen basil ice cubes in plastic bags. Keeps several months. (Optional, add garlic or grated cheese to the paste before freezing. I use canola oil, because it freezes harder, but olive oil works as well.)

Add these cubes to anything you would add fresh basil too!  They have tons of uses… You are only limited by your freezer room!