Basil is the quintessential summer herb, wonderful enjoyed in a salad, pasta, or creative cocktail. It releases a sweet and spicy aroma when fresh, and freezes wonderfully as a pesto for use year-round.
- Basil is best stored like fresh-cut flowers. Trim stem ends and stick the bunch in a tall glass of water, as you would cut flowers. Loosely cover with a plastic bag and keep on the counter, changing the water daily.
- Basil can also be stored in the fridge, but the cold is more likely to brown the leaves quickly. Wrap the basil in a cloth and then place in an airtight container on the top shelf.
- Chop and cover with olive oil, or blend with olive oil in a food processor or blender. (Use 1 tablespoon of olive oil per 1 cup of basil.)
- Freeze in an ice cube tray, transferring to an airtight container or bag once frozen.
- Use the frozen basil and oil cubes to make a basil vinaigrette or pesto, or to add fresh basil to soup or stew.
Another great way to preserve basil is to make a big batch of pesto and store it in the freezer to use all year long.
Root to Fruit
- Both stems and flowers are edible. Use the stems as well as the leaves when making pesto.
- Basil flowers have a similar, if milder, flavour than the leaves. They can be used as a decorative garnish on a salad or cheese plate. Or, steep them in olive oil to infuse it with basil flavour.
If wilted, trim stems and soak in ice water for 15 minutes.