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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Basil Cubes; How to freeze fresh basil

The weather is absolutely gorgeous out right now; warm and sunny falls days with just the lightest hint of crisp air in the evenings. Summer plants are still producing the last of their wares as the golden leaves fall around them. Unlike the color white, summer salads and grilling is not only acceptable but encouraged!  If only we could bottle this feeling and these flavors for those cold, dark, winter days ahead.

Freezing fresh herbs puts us one step closer to the summer and fall feeling during the unavoidable Midwest blizzards. If you are growing your own herbs, or if you are participating in a CSA program or if you just have an overwhelming amount of basil that you don't know what to do with, this is your answer. Rather than force yourself to put basil in every single thing you make just to use it up - chop and freeze it for use weeks and months down the road. Plus it's completely the simplest thing you can make today.

Dried herbs are great in a pinch and even better for longer cooking soups and stews, but why not use fresh every chance you can? Imagine fresh pesto in January! Take your remaining fresh basil and freeze it now, you'll be super fat and happy you did come this winter.

Fat and Happy Food Blog Tips and Techniques: For these basil cubes, I prefer to use my mini ice cube trays which holds just shy of 1 tablespoon rather than a typical ice cube tray. This is really just a preference thing and may depend on what you have on hand, but it will help you to know the measurement you freeze the basil in when using in recipes.

Fresh Frozen Basil Cubes


Fresh basil
olive oil

Remove any unwanted stems from the fresh basil. Loosely pack a food processor with the basil. Place the top on and hit the pulse button while drizzling in a little olive oil.  You want enough to oil to coat all the basil, but not so much that you have a vinaigrette on your hands.

Lining the ice cube tray with a layer of plastic wrap will make it so much easier to pop the the herb cubes out. Simply lay a plastic wrap about twice the length of the tray across the top of the tray. Spoon the herb mixture into each cube pushing the plastic wrap down. Use the remaining wrap to cover the top while freezing.

Place in the freezer until frozen. Pop the cubes out and place in a freezer safe bag or container; be sure to label it so you know what it is and when you made it. Place back in the freezer until ready to use.

You could also purchase little freezer containers rather than freezing in the ice cube trays, my freezer is the classic top side only and I find the little cubes take up less room than individual containers. But again, it depends on the size of basil you typically use at a time.

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