What are 3 ways to preserve basil

In this brief guide, we will discuss, “What are 3 ways to preserve basil?”, and look at the benefits and implications of each method. We will also look at the shelf-life of basil when it is preserved from each method.

What are 3 ways to preserve basil?

Here are 3 ways to preserve basil.

  1. Immersing basil stems in water
  2. Freezing
  3. Dehydrating

How to preserve basil by immersing the stems in water?

This is by far the easiest method. You just have to treat your basil like a bunch of flowers. All you have to do is trim off the stems and immerse them in water. 

Steps to preserve basil by immersing the stems in water

  • Trim off about an inch from the basil stems. Put basil in a jar with a small amount of water in it.
  • Cover the tips of the basil leaves loosely. This is best done with a thin plastic bag.
  • Leave the basil jar out at room temperature. Don’t put it in the fridge. 
  • Replace the water in the jar every few days.
  • Wash and dry the basil leaves once you’re ready to eat.

How to preserve basil by freezing?

There are so many different ways to freeze basil.

Freezing whole basil leaves

  • Remove the basil leaves from the stem
  • Blanch the basil leaves in boiling water for 2 seconds.
  • Place the leaves in an ice bath to cool.
  • Dry the leaves fully. You can blot dry with a paper towel and then let the leaves air-dry.
  • Store in a freezer-safe container, using wax or parchment paper to separate the layers.

Freezing chopped basil leaves in ice cube trays

Frozen ice cubes with chopped basil are less messy than preparing frozen pesto. This is a convenient way to keep basil fresh for a few months. When the frozen basil bits thaw, they will turn black, but they will still taste the same.

  • Slice the basil leaves
  • Place them in ice cube trays and add top off with water
  • Place them in the freezer.
  • Once the cubes are frozen, transfer them into ziplock bags.

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Freezing basil pesto base

  • Remove basil leaves from the stems.
  • Washing the basil leaves in cool, running water.
  • Dry the leaves in a salad spinner. Then dry the leaves with paper towels.
  • Add the leaves to a food processor. Fill the food processor bowl halfway, but don’t overfill it.
  • Pulse the food processor with one hand while pouring in the olive oil with the other.
  • Add a pinch of salt and continue processing until the basil is well chopped.
  • Make sure the basil is completely covered in olive oil. This will prevent it from turning black in the freezer. 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil is a good rule of thumb.
  • Transfer the pesto base into a clean jar.
  • Label and freeze it until needed.

How to preserve basil by dehydrating?

You can dehydrate basil in a food-dehydrator, oven , or microwave. Dried basil is less flavorful than frozen basil and basil pesto, but you can use it in many recipes like pizzas, pasta , etc. Dried basil also has a long shelf-life.

Dehydrating basil in a microwave

  • Remove basil leaves from the stems.
  • Washing the basil leaves in cool, running water.
  • Dry the leaves in a salad spinner. Then dry the leaves with paper towels.
  • Place as many as will fit on a plate between paper towels in a single layer.
  • Microwave for 45 seconds.
  • Remove the plate and arrange the leaves in a single layer.
  • Then microwave for a further 30 seconds.
  • The leaves should be withered and mostly dry at this point. If not, heat for another 10 seconds at a time until they are crisp.
  • Allow the leaves to cool entirely. The leaves will crisp up even more as they cool.
  • Store the leaves in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. 

Dehydrating basil in a food dehydrator

  • Remove the leaves from the stems, wash and dry them.
  • Place the dehydrating trays in the dehydrator.
  • Set the temperature to 35°C or 95°F (the lowest setting available).
     
  • Start checking at 6 hours if the humidity levels in your house and outside are low, but don’t be surprised if basil takes 12 to 24 hours to dry entirely.
  • When the basil leaves are crisp and crumbly, you know it’s dried.
  • Store the leaves in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. 

What is the shelf life of preserved basil?

You can choose any of the methods we discussed to preserve basil. The method you choose will depend on how long you want to preserve your leaves and the preferred final texture.

Here’s a summary of the shelf-life of basil preserved in 3 ways

Preservation methodShelf-life
Immersing the basil stems in water1-2 weeks
Freezing Whole frozen leaves: several monthsChopped basil leaves: several monthsFrozen basil pesto: one year
Dehydrating1 year or more

Other FAQs about Basil that you may be interested in.

Should you chop basil? (how to harvest it)

Do you chop basil for sauce?

Can you eat dried basil without cooking it?

Conclusion 

In this brief guide, we discussed, “what are 3 ways to preserve basil”, and looked at the benefits and implications of each method. We also looked at the shelf-life of basil when it is preserved from each method.

References

How to Store and Preserve Fresh Basil | Allrecipes

How to Harvest & Freeze Basil – Heeman’s.

How to Dry Basil.

3 Tips for Preserving Fresh Basil All Year Long | Kitchn

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.