4. Unblanched Straight Into Freezer Bags
This was another method I read about in a comment on a website I visited: “I often harvest my basil leaves and put them straight into freezer bags. Once frozen, I just take out what I need to cook with and chop while still frozen. They maintain that great fresh taste.”
Since this was a version of my favorite non-blanching method, I wondered if it could be any different than how I usually do it on trays?
- Wash & dry basil leaves.
- Place leaves into freezer bags.
- Remove as much air as possible, either by pressing or using this trick, and freeze.
Result: Decent color, easiest method (only handle the leaves one time), easy to break off portions to use.
Oh, my gosh, this was the WINNER in my book! Look at the more natural green color (the blanched basil looks unnaturally green to me) and how fresh the leaves still look! While you have to actually break off chunks to use (vs. the individual frozen leaves of blanched), that’s not hard to do and it’s how you would use them in cooking anyway. It’s true that the leaves will turn brown as you cook with them, but that’s what fresh leaves do, too, so that’s not a negative for me.
I love, love, that again the easiest method proved to be a good one – and the best one for me. But there are still two more popular Pinterest methods to test, one that surprised me with it’s usefulness, the other with it’s…not so usefulness.
5. Chopped & Coated With Oil
This method is very popular on Pinterest and I wondered if coating in oil would somehow help preserve the leaves versus the other methods. Here’s how to do this:
- Wash, dry & chop basil leaves.
- Toss leaves with a bit of olive oil (I used 3 c. of leaves to 2 TB. oil).
- Portion into mason jars and freeze.
Results: Very dark leaves and very hard to remove – I needed to chip away at it just to remove a bit. The oil didn’t seem to help keep color at all. I was actually surprised to learn that this was another of my least favorite methods since it seemed to be so popular.
6. Chopped in Liquid Cubes
I’ve read about this method many times and have done a version of it by processing leaves in a food processor, almost like pesto, before adding them to ice cube trays (one time in olive oil).
I didn’t find these cubes easy to use – they seemed to be a one-shot wonder good for only marinara or pasta sauces (and since I usually have this amazing roasted sauce in the freezer, I hardly make it from scratch in the winter). What I liked about this version (again from a comment) was the differences:
- Wash, dry & slice basil leaves.
- Divide among ice cube tray sections.
- Add either water or broth to cover leaves.
- Freeze until firm and place in labeled freezer bags (or use ice cube trays with covers and store them in the trays).
Results: The leaves kept good color in both the water and broth. Although there is slightly more time involved with cutting and pouring, it’s easy to transfer the cubes to baggies and easy to use cubes in soups and stews. This was another WIN for us as I see these cubes being a lot more versatile than smaller cut basil or oil-covered basil. The cubes would even be a way to add basil flavor to curries.
SO, I will be preserving the rest of our basil leaves unblanched straight into baggies and I’ll make sure to have a few liquid cubes, too, for our favorite winter soups and stews. I’m happy to have these ways to keep the basil flavor all winter- along with lots of pesto, of course.
Have you used any of these methods for freezing basil? Do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments!
Other Freezing Techniques You May Like:
To see the first 3 methods!
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