Ready to preserve basil? Here are six different ways to preserve basil.
Six Ways How to Preserve Basil
There’s really only one thing to do… harvest and use your basil before the first frost. Basil is super sensitive to frost and will not survive even a little frost.
Instead of bringing it indoors here are some options for how you can preserve basil.
Store Fresh Cut Basil– make it last in your kitchen for a couple of weeks
There are several ways to freeze basil. Choose a method that works best for you and how you use basil when cooking.
Freeze Basil in Oil – Fellow Professional Home Economist Mairlyn Smith shows you how she freezes basil by chopping it and mixing with oil.
Freeze Basil Leaves – I will strip basil leaves off the stems and freeze them whole just as is – no oil, no water, no nothin’. The leaves turn very dark and will be soft and mushy when they thaw. I use them in soups, stews and pasta dishes where looks and texture don’t matter. I just want that flavor.
Freeze Massaged Basil Leaves – My friends Kelly and Leanne strip basil leaves off the stems and massage each leaf in oil and then freeze the leaves in a thin, flat layer in a freezer bag.
Can I Just Bring My Basil Inside?
If you’re thinking about bringing your basil plant indoors – don’t! Let me save you a lot of time, energy and frustration by being up front with you – taking your basil inside at the end of the summer usually does not work very well – not without a lot of effort anyway.
Here’s what will typically happen. You’ll bring your potted basil inside promising to love and care for it like it were your first born. Within days you’ll see your basil dropping leaves and turning yellow. You may even notice a few tiny insects in your house that you didn’t have before. Trust me, it’s not going to get any better.
Unless you’re willing to go to heroic measures (use grow lights for 7 -10 hours per day, fertilize, install a fan and water only from the bottom as required), chances are high that your basil plant will die. The worst part is, you’ll have lost your chance to harvest those gorgeous leaves at the end of summer.
Why Won’t Basil Last Indoors?
The most obvious reason is that basil is an annual plant. By it’s very nature, basil is intended to survive for only one season. Wikipedia says “An annual plant is a plant that completes its life cycle, from germination to the production of seed, within one year, and then dies.”
If you’ve had your basil plant all summer, it has done its job. It has given you the best it is has to offer. Sure, you could put it on life support, but you’ll get very little out of it.
Bringing it inside will only delay the inevitable and will cause you to miss out on the last bit of flavor your basil has left to offer you.
So with all these options to choose from, how will you preserve basil?
Whatever you choose, leave a comment or if you’re a social media buff take a photo and tag it with #getgettys on Instagram. I’d love to see what you’re doing.
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.