As you are most likely aware, basil only grows outdoors during the warmer months. Therefore, if you want to enjoy basil in your cooking for the rest of the year, you’re going to have to preserve some from your summer harvest. Or, try growing it indoors over winter.
One of the best ways to preserve basil is to put it in the freezer in ice cube trays, and we’re going to show you how. You can freeze whole leaves as well but infusing basil with oil and freezing it in ice cube trays is a great way to have basil available all year round.
It’s also a convenient way to store basil and have it readily available in a convenient form to add to all of your pasta sauces. Or, you can even make a quick batch of pesto when the craving hits you.
Step-By-Step Guide On How To Freeze Basil In Ice Cube Trays
Here are the simple steps to follow to freeze basil in ice cube trays.
1. Wash And Dry The Basil
The first thing you want to do is to wash the basil to remove any dirt or other debris from the leaves. It’s then important to let the basil dry completely before freezing them. You can speed up this drying process by using a salad spinner to remove all the moisture from the leaves.
2. Process The Basil With Oil
After your basil leaves are clean and dry, it’s time to get out of the food processor. Place the basil leaves into the bowl of the processor and add a splash of olive oil. For 1 cup of basil leaves, you should use around four tablespoons of olive oil. Mince the leaves and the oil together just like making pesto.
3. Put The Basil And Oil Mixture Into Ice Cube Trays
After you’re processed the basil with the oil, all you have to do is to divide the mixture between your ice cube trays evenly.
4. Top With A Little Extra Olive Oil
Once the mixture is in the ice cube trays, top each cube with a little extra olive oil. This will prevent the basil from getting freezer burn or changing color.
5. Open Freeze The Basil In The Ice Cube Trays
Place the ice cube trays with the basil mixture into the freezer overnight to open freeze the cubes.
6. Put The Frozen Cubes Into A Freezer Bag
In the morning, you can take the basil cubes out of the trays and put them into a freezer or Ziplock bag for easy storage in your freezer. Remember to label the bag and put the date on it.
You now have frozen basil that you can use in all of your Mediterranean dishes or make lovely basil pesto to have with pasta.
Second Method For How To Freeze Basil In Ice Cube Trays
This method uses a few more ingredients that you can add to the basil and the oil to make even more delicious basil ice cubes to add to your cooking. Here are the steps:
1. Wash And Dry Your Basil
Wash the basil leaves and dry them. Use a salad spinner if you have one.
2. Add The Basil And Other Ingredients To Your Food Processor
For this mixture, you want to combine 2 cups of fresh basil leaves, 7 cloves of garlic, ½ cup of Parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon of salt, and 2/3 cup of olive oil. You could also add a few pine nuts if you have them handy.
It’s best to chop up the dry ingredients first before you add the olive oil.
3. Put The Mixture Into Ice Cube Trays
Spoon the mixture into ice cube trays. You should be able to fill 12 cubes with this mixture.
4. Open Freeze Overnight
Place the ice cube trays with the mixture into the freezer overnight.
5. Put The Frozen Cubes Into A Freezer Bag
Take the trays with the frozen cubes out of the freezer and put the cubes into a Ziplock or freezer bag. Label the bag and add the date.
Take out the cubes, 1 or 2 at a time, to add to your pasta sauces or to make a batch of pesto.
You Can Also Freeze Whole Basil Leaves
Another way that you can preserve your basil is to freeze whole leaves in a Ziplock bag. Here’s what to do:
- Wash the basil leaves and let them dry or put them through a salad spinner to remove all of the moisture.
- Place the clean and dry leaves into a Ziplock bag or other suitable freezer bag. Seal the bag, making sure that you expel any air first.
- Put this in your freezer and use them whenever you want fresh basil leaves.