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Growing fresh basil is the easiest thing for me to grow. I just water and it grows and grows and grows. So, what do you do with so much basil? You do not want it going to waste. No one wants to throw out any herbs that are homegrown fresh. Here are four ways to preserve basil.
Drying In The Oven
This is probably the easiest way to preserve basil. All you need is an oven. The temperature should be the lowest setting that your oven will go. You don’t want to cook the basil, you just want to dry it out. Wash your basil and place the leaves on paper towels to absorb extra moisture. Place your leaves on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Bake for a few hours until your leaves are dry and you can crumple the leaves. The amount of time in the oven depends on your oven and how much basil you have on your cookie sheet. Remove from the oven when complete. Allow the basil leaves to cool down, crumple the leaves, and place them in an airtight container.
Freezing Basil Cubes
This is another easy way of preserving basil. Wash your basil and allow the leaves to dry on paper towels. Add your leaves to a food processor until they are finely chopped. Get an ice cube tray and add the basil to each cube. Add olive oil to each cube. Enough olive oil to cover the basil. Put the ice tray in your freezer. Once frozen remove the frozen basil/olive oil cubes from the ice cube trays, (I do this so I can continue to use the trays for other herb preserving). Place the frozen cubes into a freezer bag with oxygen squeezed out or in another air-tight container. When ready, just toss a cube into your pot or skillet and make your amazing meal!
To dehydrate your basil you need a dehydrator. I use the Cosori Food Dehydrator. It is so quiet and it is the best dehydrator I have had yet.
Wash your basil. Place your leaves on your dehydrator trays. Don’t overload your trays. Spread the leaves in a single layer. The temperature of the dehydrator should be 95F or 35C. Dehydration could take up to 24 hours or more. If you have a round dehydrator you may need to rotate trays. Once dry, place the basil in an airtight container and turn once a day for seven days. You are checking to make sure the leaves are not sticking together and there is no moisture. If the leaves are sticking together, put the basil back in the dehydrator until completely moist-free. The dehydrating process is complete once you can crumble the leaves in your hand. Dehydrated basil will last up to one year.
This is an easy recipe and can be used right away. Creamy butter with basil is one of the best homemade kinds of butter. The basil butter can be stored for two months in the refrigerator and six months in the freezer.
Basil butter falls under the category of “Compound Butter.”
Compound butter is a mixture of softened butter combined with various flavoring ingredients, such as herbs, spices, garlic, citrus zest, or other seasonings. These ingredients are typically blended into the butter to create a flavorful and versatile spread. Compound butters are commonly used to add richness and taste to various dishes, from bread and rolls to grilled meats, fish, vegetables, pasta, and more.
Basil butter, specifically, is made by incorporating fresh basil leaves into softened butter, resulting in a delicious spread with the aromatic and herbal notes of basil. It can be used in numerous culinary applications to elevate the taste of various recipes and is especially popular during the summer when fresh basil is abundant.
If you prefer a smoother texture, you can strain the chopped basil leaves through a fine-mesh sieve before mixing them with the butter.
Feel free to experiment with other herbs and spices to create unique variations of compound butter.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Compound Butter
Keywords: Basil Butter, Compound Butter, Homemade, Recipe, Basil Leaves, Butter Spread, Flavorful, Aromatic, Culinary
*** Bonus – Freeze Drying
Wash your basil. I have a freeze dryer from HarvestRight. I have a medium size freeze dryer and so far it is perfect for my needs. Place the leaves on your freeze-drying trays. Spread the leaves in a single layer. Freeze drying will go faster if place the trays in the freezer. This is not necessary, you can put them directly in the freeze dryer. It is up to you. Follow the instructions on your freeze dryer. The freeze-drying time is based on several factors. You must take into consideration where your freeze dryer is located. Is it hot and humid? How much basil are you freeze drying? Usually freeze drying will take around 20 to 24 hours. When completed you can leave your leaves whole or crumple them up. Always keep the basil in an airtight container. When using the freeze drying method, your basil will last for years.