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General information and discussion about cultivating herbs.

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Old February 6, 2006   #1
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Default Best way to preserve basil we've found

Aside from Pesto - (we have an addiction to the stuff - we make it in a food processor, adding all of the ingredients....basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan, olive oil - freeze it in brownie pans, but into cubes and freeze the cubes in freezer bags. We end up with 150-200 cubes by the end of summer, which takes us nicely into the next summer) - we found that the same technique, minus all ingredients save for the basil and olive oil, work great. This way you can get the fresh basil flavor all year long. We put 4 cups of basil leaves into the food processor and pulse till finely chopped - then, with the processor running slow, add enough olive oil to make a smooth paste. Pour into a brownie pan, freeze, then using a dough scraper, cut into cubes - freeze in bags.

I suppose that this is in a way a recipe...will post there as well as here! It is mostly about an herb, however!
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Old February 9, 2006   #2
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Great way to do it--that is, on the brownie tray. I have several ice cube trays dedicated to this oil and herb method but think the tray might be better. So thanks!!!

Have you tried doing other herbs this way? I find it's very successful with parsley and chives which are hard to preserve, at least with any flavour!

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Old February 9, 2006   #3
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You've given me some great ideas. Thanks a million! I have heaps of late-summer... that's right it's almost Autumn... herbs looking for something to do.
Cheers and good growing for the season ahead.
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Old February 9, 2006   #4
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We'll have to try it. In the past we've always made pesto and put it in the freezer. This sounds so much easier for big batches of basil, then make the pesto as needed.
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Old March 4, 2006   #5
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Default try freezing it

I have had excellent luck freezing the leaves. Take them off the stem and pop them in a ziplock,then freeze. When you need some for cooking, you can easily break off what you need and add to your dish.

I have also read that many folks recommend making basil ice cubes - freeze leaves in ice cube trays (with water of course) then add cubes to your cooking. This isn't very practical for me because I save a lot of basil, but I have had friends try it.

You can also make nice herb butter with basil and anything else that sounds good. Mince herbs and mix with softened butter - I usually make a pound at a time. put butter mixture on wax paper and roll into a tube - it is similar to having a roll of cookie dough. Place the wax paper rolls inside a ziplock and freeze. You can thaw them out completely, or cut off slices to cook with or add to toast etc.

You don't have to freeze these, they stay in the fridge for weeks, but it is easiest for me to make a large batch, freeze some, and then have them for company or to give as hostess gifts with some fresh baked bread...and of course, some nice red wine

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Old May 8, 2006   #6
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Default pesto recipe

I did a search but didn't find anything on the recipe forum. I'm not sure I'm a pesto fan but always have tons of various basils to use. Craig, could you post your recipe so I could try it? I love the aroma of herbs in the garden and try several new ones each year. I use more dill and chives than anything else. I love the dill on fish and creamy cucumber dishes. Lavender for fragrance, chamomile for the visual interest (I have yet to use it for it's other properties). I have oregano that came back from last year in two big pretty mounds. Lemon balm too. The dreaded mint I planted YEARS ago and ignorantly has taken over the back corner of my yard.
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Old June 6, 2006   #7
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I love the pesto idea. I've been putting the leaves in a food processor with a little water, blending to a soup, then freezing them in an ice cube tray. Sometimes I add oregano, thyme, whatever else is in the garden. Then I put the cubes in a baggie or tupperware.
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Old July 9, 2006   #8
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I've got basil out the wazoo this year, so I'll be doing a lot of freezing. I've used ice cube trays, but I guess a brownie pan would be easier still!
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Old August 30, 2009   #9
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You can blanch and freeze basil in leaf form. Dip it in boiling water, then shock it in ice water, pat with paper towel and freeze on a sheet pan, about 2 hours, then chop if desired, bag, label and store in the freezer. Can use in pasta sauces, soups, etc like dried basil.
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Old September 4, 2009   #10
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Basil is the reason I asked for an Aerogarden for my birthday six months ago. And I have to say it does a wonderful job. I planted some basil outside this year, but probably won't next year. The one plant in the Aerogarden produces almost enough for everything. I'll start another basil sometime soon and then will be able to make all the pesto we want for two people.

The flavor (Genovese) is outstanding. I've preserved basil in the freezer, and it works well, but nothing compares with fresh. Well, I take that back. Homegrown preserved is probably better than the fresh stuff you can get in winter at the grocery store, which is often rather weak, IMO.

Lest this seem too much like an advertisement, I should mention that some of the other herbs haven't done much in the AG. The oregano was good but my outdoor oregano is better, and since a few leaves survive during the winter, I don't really need it. Am now trying to nurse along parsley and cilantro, and the jury's still out on those.

It would be very interesting to try some heirloom tomatoes in an AG. I'm surprised no one here has done it.

But anyway. That's my way of getting good basil in the winter.

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Old September 4, 2009   #11
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I have done ice cubes recently, and its a PITA! (pain in the toosh)
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Old June 15, 2013   #12
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I like the idea of processing herbs, then freezing for future use. I do the ice cube thing for pepper puree too.

I really like the suggestion of freezing whole leaves of basil. That seems to be the easiest thing to do, but I'd worry about not using it fast enough and it tasting freezer burned at some point. I dunno. I'll give it all a try and see what happens. Thanks all!
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Old June 15, 2013   #13
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the edges of the frozen cubes when exposed to oxygen turn brown and degrade. the less surface area the better imo.

i freeze the basil oil puree in larger blocks in ziploc bags, then chop or grate off what i need. I will typically remove and dispose of the oxidized outer layer.
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Old June 15, 2013   #14
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Default Pesto


I make my pesto all except the pine nut and the cheese. I put it into an ice tray first until fully frozen. Then I pop the cubes out and then vacuum seal about 6 cubes with my Food Saver. No freezer burn. Works great.

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Old August 16, 2013   #15
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Folks, I found this thread tonight as I face the challenge of leaving for 3 weeks, with lots and lots of basil leaves on the plants. Thanks for all of the suggestions - I will try Craig's because it seems to be an easier way to preserve a large quantity.
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