I love basil. This extremely aromatic herb can make an appearance on our table each night for dinner and it will never grow old to me. A wonderful Chiffonade of raw sweet basil among a bowl of fresh lettuce greens, whole leaves atop a fresh baked homemade pizza, or layered ontop a portobello mushroom cap on my veggie sandwich - - it's all good!
So when my King rolled a wheel-barrow full of this freshly harvested versatile herb I knew it wasn't the end of my delicious basil filled summer, but a new season for me and my dear herbal friend. Now I haven't had much success drying basil while retaining its color, flavor, and aroma (although I refuse to give up on the drying). This year, in addition to drying and making pesto, I attempted other ways to preserve this delicate herb.
Frozen Basil Leaves
This was by far the most simple way to preserve the leaves. Just a quick rinse to ensure the removal of all traces of soil and little buggies, layer on a cookie sheet or dish and pop into the freezer. After they freeze, I remove them and place them into a zip lock bag and keep in the freezer for long term storage. So simple and easy. Perfect for taking out a few leaves and dropping them in my favorite winter soups.
Basil Butter Log
My family isn't big on eating butter but when we do, we'll do it with pizazz! This was super easy to prepare. I set 2 sticks of organic unsalted butter out until soft at room temperature. Chopped a couple handfuls of fresh basil. Mixed the ingredients in a bowl until creamy and well blended. Using plastic wrap, I shaped the spread into a beautiful log, place it a ziplock bag and store it in the freezer. This log will be wonderful on my homemade Ciabatta Bread or corn on the cob.
To save seeds is to believe in the future. Chanowk likes to let a good portion of our basil flower each year so we can save seeds for next year. A plants ability to reproduce itself is a natural part of the life cycle of a plant. Seeds (life) should not and cannot be manufactured.
Basil seeds can be found in the flower heads located at the top of the plant. I cut and remove the dried flower heads and set aside for a week or so to ensure they are completely dry. When I'm ready to harvest the seeds, I simply crush the dried flower heads and blow away the chaff. You will be left with many tiny black seeds that store well for at least five years. Store seeds in a clearly labeled paper envelope and enjoy your basil for years to come!
Basil is a blemish eraser. Steep a cup of basil leaves in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes and swap on your trouble areas and rinse. Studies show that doing this 2 to 3 times a day will allow the herb's oil to combat the bacteria that causes pimples.