forum: Food & Drink

#1 Wed 25 Apr 07 2:33am


From melbourne australia
Member since Sat 03 Jul 04

preserving basil

Gday all.
Autumns now creeping in here in Australia and my currently thriving basil will start to pack up for the winter. Does anyone have any good suggetsions for preserving basil?  Freezing and drying are the obvious choices but id like something a little more interesting . If I make some pesto, is there any way to preserve it long term? I've only just started getting into jaring and it seems to me that the heat in the sterilization process would destroy the pesto. Any other ideas? basil jam perhaps! (im tempted to try this anyway  smile  ) all ideas welcome.


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#2 Wed 25 Apr 07 9:01am


Occupation Semi-retired antique dealer/now farmer and cheese maker
From Northern Victoria,Australia
Member since Thu 12 Apr 07

Re: preserving basil

Gday Evan

I freeze pesto as I read somewhere the oil preserves its colour as well as its flavour .Turns out allright for me. I do it in ice cube trays, remove and wrap in plastic wrap and store the lot in an old icecream container. And we're in the same situation where our herbs are starting to struggle in the cooler nights.
I also freeze oven -dried Roma tomatoes cos I find they cloud up a bit in oil over time and I worry about mould!  I've just dried 20 kgs tomatoes and my wife is out today getting more to make up the sauce we saw on Jamie last week on Aussie TV.  20 kgs of dried tomatoes was a huge amount but we use  them as a sauce for pasta , and we bought a new whizbang 100cm oven that swallowed the lot in one go. But it took 10 hours to dry them. Result ??? ----Bloody fantastic !!! 



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#3 Wed 25 Apr 07 9:04am

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: preserving basil

I used to make basil oil. Put basil leaves in olive oil and keep it in the fridge.

My basil gave it up two weeks ago.

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#4 Thu 26 Apr 07 7:48am


Forum champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: preserving basil

Preserving Basil

You can dry it or freeze it, but freezing retains the fresh taste better. Before you start, wash basil in cold water and dry; a salad spinner works well for this step.
To freeze your basil, pull leaves from stems.
Then, in a food processor, with knife blade attached, puree 2 cups packed leaves with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Drop the mixture by teaspoonfuls onto the paper; freeze one hour or until firm.
Transfer the dollops (you should have about 16) to a self-sealing, freezer-safe plastic bag and store for up to two months.
To use in a recipe, stir in a frozen dollop when you're almost finished cooking the soup, chicken or beef stew, or spaghetti sauce.

You can also freeze leaves whole and keep them for up to a year.
First, blanch leaves for two seconds in boiling water, then drain and rinse immediately with cold water.
Pat leaves dry and store in a large, freezer-safe container, separating each layer with plastic wrap.
Use in cooking as you would fresh basil leaves, but, cup for cup, frozen leaves are more compact than fresh ones, so use a little less than the recipe calls for. 

Basil Jelly
Basil jelly would go nice with pastas or italian cuisine, maybe even
on garlic bread. Maybe an addition to pesto?

1 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves - the fresher the better
1 cup white vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cups water
6 1/2 cups sugar
Two 3 oz. pouches  liquid pectin

Place the basil leaves, lemon juice and vinegar in an 8 to 10 quart sauce
pot. The larger size is necessary since this recipe boils up a LOT. Let
the basil, lemon juice and vinegar stand while you are measuring the two
cups water. Add the water.
Heat almost to boil, stirring to blend, then add all the sugar at once. Stir to
dissolve sugar. Bring to hard boil, add two 3-ounce pouches of
liquid pectin, 6 ounces total. 
Bring back to boil, boil hard for 1 minute or until jelly point is reached. Remove from heat. Remove basil leaves with slotted spoon. Pour immediately into hot, sterilized 1/2 pint jars, seal and process 10 minutes in boiling water bath

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