Saturday, September 21, 2013

Preserving Basil

Last year I waited too long to harvest my basil to save for the winter, so this year I wanted to nip it in the bud (as it were) and get a head start.
A good time to harvest basil is when the bottom leaves start turning yellowish (as shown in the picture).  When that happens, it won't be long until the basil stops producing leaves, followed by the leaves falling off (and they're not very good).
If you have lots of time and not lots of basil, you can just harvest all the big leaves, and leave the little leaves and starts to keep growing.  I just cut off most of it to the ground, leaving only what I thought I would eat the rest of the season.
Picking off the buds of the basil when it's growing will help it produce leaves longer.  If there are flowers left on your basil that you have harvested, you might want to consider leaving them out.  The buds are edible, but the longer they have flowered, the more bitter they are.
Take the leaves off the woody stalk, but don't worry about the tender top of the stalk, it all tastes like basil!
Blend it with some olive oil.  You want it to feel like a slightly damp sponge.  Does that make sense?  
Freeze in an ice cube tray, and enjoy it throughout the winter!

1 comment:

  1. Great tip Ariel!

    You could also make a big batch of pesto and freeze it in little jars.