How to preserve basil

In this brief article, we will answer ‘’How to preserve basil’’. This article will also discuss the uses of preserved basil and their shelf life. 

How to preserve basil?

Basil can be preserved by making a basil puree, freezing the basil leaves or by drying them. These simple methods increase the shelf life of fresh basil leaves. These are used in salads, soup or even used to make soothing teas. 

There are 3 very simple ways you can preserve basil leaves. 

Freezing basil leaves to preserve them

You can freeze fresh basil leaves which will shrink overtime because of the freezing process. If you need more basil then freeze a little more than required as they will shrink a little. You can either put the whole leaves in an airtight bag to freeze them or chop them and then freeze them.

Blanching basil leaves to freeze them whole

If freezing is not possible or you fear that they will lose their freshness, blanch the leaves before you freeze them. To blanch the leaves, remove basil leaves from the stem and put them in boiling water for a few seconds only. After a maximum of 3 seconds, take the leaves out with a spoon.

Quickly shift the leaves from boiling water to ice cold water for a few seconds. Dry them after this and shift to a container. You can use these basil leaves for sauces or make delicious soup anytime you want to.  

Make a puree of basil leaves 

For some dishes such as pesto, you need basil puree which can be freezed to preserve it for a longer time. Basil puree is very easy to make and quick to use when needed, saves the time needed to defrost the leaves and can be used directly in dishes. 

To prepare the puree, remove the leaves from the stem and wash to remove any dirt on the leaves. Use a food processor to make a puree by adding a tablespoon of olive oil in it. Olive oil will help give the puree a paste-like form which will be easy to freeze and keeps the puree fresh too. 

Use the normal ice tray to freeze cubes of the puree, but make sure that you shift the cubes in an airtight container which you can then leave in the freezer until you need it. 

Oven dried basil leaves 

You can dry basil leaves in the oen to preserve them if you don’t want to use the leaves in frozen form. This way you can keep the dried leaves outside and use them accordingly. It is very easy to dry them, wash the leaves first and remove them from the stem. These washed leaves should be placed on parchment paper which you can put inside the oven. 

Let them rotate in the oven for about 3 hours, after which you will notice the leaves will be crumbly and completely dry. Let them cool down and crush the leaves. Use airtight containers to keep the crushed basil leaves and store in your pantry or cupboard. 

Shelf life of preserved basil 

Dried basil can last for about a year without going bad. Make sure that you keep it in airtight containers. Frozen basil is good for around 3 months, they can be used in salads or soups.

How to preserve basil leaves in oil

Basil leaves can be kept for months in olive oil, the leaves won’t dry out at all and can be used whenever needed and can be cooked too. Take an airtight jar and fill it with olive oil. Make sure that you clean and wash the leaves before you put them in olive oil. 

Place this airtight jar inside the fridge, where it will stay fresh for months.

Use only salt to preserve basil leaves 

You only need salt to preserve fresh basil leaves. Simply add half inch of salt in an airtight container and then put clea basil leaves. Gently press the leaves so they don’t break but are also covered entirely by salt. 

Keep adding leaves and sprinkle salt on top so the leaves have salt on them. Then close the jar and use it within 3 to 4 weeks. The leaves will stay fresh because of the salt. You now see that basil leaves can be preserved in multiple ways depending on the way you need them.

If you don’t want to freeze them, you can make a puree or air dry them or even store it in oil or salt. 


In this brief article, we answered ‘’How to preserve basil’’. This article also discussed the uses of preserved basil and their shelf life. 


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.