If you've ever grown basil you know it's fairly easy to do and can produce a lot with only one plant. And you also probably know that the flavor is miles beyond using a dried, store-bought basil.
Basil has been said to be the "King of the Herbs" and with good reason.
It has been said to reduce memory loss, depression and chronic stress. It has also been found to reduce blood pressure and relax blood vessels similar to the way aspirin does. It also can be a good support against bacteria. While you are probably eating basil in smaller amounts since it is an herb that is used only to flavor foods, it's best to eat it freshly grown when possible.
We put fresh basil on pizzas and in many sauces all summer long. But near the end of the season we are thinking about more ways we can preserve our harvest to use throughout the winter.
Here are our two favorite ways to preserve basil so we can enjoy it all year round
This is a simple way to prepare and store your home-grown basil and can be done with minimal equipment. While drying can be done by simply laying the basil out to dry, it is easier and more efficient if you can invest in a dehydrator. We use this one because we like the versatility of it and are able to use it for large quantities of many herbs as well as beef jerky and even making yogurt. But if you only plant to dry herbs you can purchase a much smaller dehydrator.
Once completely dried, we simply crush and store in small mason jars in our spice cabinet. You'll need less of this herb in recipes than you would if using a store-bought basil as the flavor will be more concentrated, as well the health benefits.
FROZEN BASIL BLOCKS
This method makes for a delicious sauce or pizza in the middle of winter when you might be longing for the taste of fresh veggies and herbs. Basil done in this way will provide that just-like-fresh scent and taste!
Simply take all your clean, fresh basil leaves (and even a few stems can be included) and put them in your food processor. Add enough good olive oil to blend and chop until you have a sort of "paste".
Then pour this into silicone ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen simply remove the little cubes and store in an airtight container in the freezer.
When ready to use, simply remove as many "blocks" as
you need for your recipe! For sauces it is as easy as dropping a cube into the pot.