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Old 04-27-2007, 10:15 AM   #1
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Freezing Fresh Basil?

Fresh basil is SO wonderful! I think it's in season now and I seem to recall hearing that it could be frozen for future use but I can't remember any details. Also, if it can be frozen, how long will it retain it's freshness?

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Old 04-27-2007, 10:43 AM   #2
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I make Pesto in the summer and freeze it with great results. Some people freeze basil with water in ice cube trays to add to dishes. I tried it but my basil turned a dark color and I didn't care for the texture. But most people swear by this method so it's worth a try.
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Old 04-27-2007, 11:52 AM   #3
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Since freezing compromises the texture, color and even flavor sometimes, I've found that drying works best for me. I rinse the leaves, pat them dry, then place them in a single layer on a baking sheet baking sure there's room around each leaf. I then pop them in the oven at the lowest possible temperature (on mine it think it's 100F). It takes time but leave the basil in the oven until it's completely dry and crisp. I then either keep the leaves whole or crumble them and store them in tightly-sealed jars.
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Old 04-27-2007, 03:23 PM   #4
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I freeze mine in ice cube trays. I process the fresh basil in a food processor with olive oil and then pack it in the trays. I put the cubes in a freezer bag and then use them for all sorts of things. They keep a long time. Over a year anyway. I also an article somewhere that suggested doing it like I'm doing but using tomatoe sauce instead of olive oil.
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Old 04-27-2007, 11:44 PM   #5
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I vastly prefer freezing to dried basil (to be fair, I've never dried it myself). If you love pesto, freezing that after you make it is best. But sometimes you might want to use your basil for other applications. I found last year that tossing it into a food processor with garlic and olive oil, then freezing works well. You can then toss it into tomato or cream sauces that are Mediterannean. You could also use a more neutral oil, then you could use it for southeast Asian dishes as well (green curries, etc.)
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Old 04-28-2007, 05:09 AM   #6
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Either drying of freezing, they will not be the same thing from that wonderfully aromatic, and wonderfully green fresh basil.
Frozen ones still can be used for sauces etc. but not to garnish an insalata caprese.
However, like noted above, pesto freezes very well, and I think that is the best option.
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