Sunday, October 11, 2009

Basil For the Freezer

As you can tell I bought a big bunch of fresh basil at the farmers market this morning. Being Italian basil is something that I can't live, or cook without for long. I used to make basil pesto and freeze it each year until I discovered the straight basil was more useful. Sometimes you want basil but not the garlic and nuts. That is why I started freezing only ground basil. It is very easy to do and works well for those times when you need a little basil flavor but don’t want to buy an entire bunch. I use it often to flavor red sauce or tomato soup.

Basil For the Freezer
Make 15 small cubes of basil with oil


10 cups fresh basil, leaves only
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided in half


Clean your basil leaves well and spin the leaves dry.

Place the basil and ¼ cup of the olive oil to your food processor and process until completely pureed. You may need to scrape down the sides once or twice. The basil will be easier to puree if you add a little salt to the mixture but it also works without the salt with more scraping down of the sides of the machine.

Put the ground basil in an ice cube tray and pat it down. Evenly drizzle the remaining oil on top of the pureed basil. You want an even film of oil on the basil so it doesn’t turn black from exposure to the air.

Freeze until needed. Defrost in the refrigerator in a covered dish.

Nutritional Information (for 1/15th):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 70.15
Calories From Fat (93%) - 65.2

Total Fat - 7.38g
Saturated Fat - 1.01g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 1.27mg
Potassium - 83.46mg
Total Carbohydrates - 0.75g
Fiber - 0.45g
Sugar - 0.08g
Protein - 0.89g


This is very useful to have in the freezer if you make a lot of Italian food. Since it is only pureed basil and oil you can do more things with it than pesto. Additionally you can thaw it out and add the garlic, pine nuts and nutritional yeast if you want pesto.

I find it keeps best in the ice cube tray in a freezer bag. If you want to take it out of the tray wrap each cube individually and that may keep it from turning black due to the oxidation from exposure to the air.

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