Sometimes a bountiful harvest of fresh basil is available than can be used in the kitchen. Professional freezing serves as an effective method of preservation. You can find out which approaches have proven themselves here.
Careful preparation is half the battle
In order for basil to retain its unique aroma after freezing, preparation plays an important role. Harvest whole shoots just before flowering during the morning hours. Once basil blooms, the leaves quickly take on a bitter taste. How to properly prepare basil afterward:
- Cut off each branch leaving two leaves on the plant
- Rinse thoroughly under clear water and pat dry
- Optionally dry in the salad spinner
- Pick the basil leaves one by one
Now sort out all brown leaves and otherwise damaged specimens. Chopping basil during preparation has a tremendously reducing effect on the aroma. Therefore, leave the leaves in one piece so that you can only cut them into small pieces once they have thawed, just before you prepare them.
Blanch and freeze fresh basil
In order to freeze basil while preserving its aroma, it is blanched beforehand. First, a bowl is filled with cold water, some ice cubes are added and set aside. Then fill a kettle with water and bring it to a boil. Place the prepared basil leaves in a slotted spoon.
This is immersed in the boiling water for 5 to a maximum of 10 seconds and immediately afterwards in the ice water.
As a result, a little patience is now required, because the blanched herb leaves should dry on spread out paper towels. After 10 to 15 minutes it goes like this:
- place the leaves individually on a plate without touching each other
- place in the quick freezer for 60 to 90 minutes
- take the plate out of the freezer
- fill the hard-frozen herbs into freezer bags or cans and seal them without delay
In this way, you can now freeze the royal herb in the freezer to save space. If basil is preserved in this way, the herbal plant can be used over a period of 6 to 12 months.
Freeze basil in no time
It may be a little at the expense of the aroma, but at high speed. To freeze basil particularly quickly, you can also do it without blanching. These variants are available for selection:
- leave the washed leaves to dry for 30 minutes
- Spread out individually on a baking sheet
- Pre-freeze in the freezer until hard
- simply collect, fill into a freezer container and freeze again
- alternatively, place a basil leaf in the compartment of an ice cube tray
- fill up with water and freeze
Frozen in the form of ice cubes, this variant has the advantage of uncomplicated dosing for later preparation. A basil ice cube corresponds to the dosage of a tablespoon. So if a recipe calls for two tablespoons of basil get two ice cubes out of the freezer.
The gourmet method – puree and freeze the basil
Basil forms a wonderful partnership with olive oil that makes gourmets rejoice. This applies to all types of basil, such as the exotic Thai basil or the tart wild basil. To enjoy this delicious treat all year round, we recommend the following method of freezing:
- Cut or snap off the stems of the prepared leaves
- pour into the food processor and chop
- add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil during the process
Once the chopped herb has reached the desired consistency, turn off the food processor and transfer the mixture to small freezer containers. You can also use water instead of olive oil, which will result in a flavorful sorbet in the freezer.
If the freezer is already full, basil can be stored in other ways. Pickled in white wine vinegar, you preserve leaves and flowers for many years. Dried in an air-flushed place, basil also serves as an aromatic spice for a long time.