Preserving Basil

preserving basilMy potted garden has included basil for a few years now, and it happens to grow prolifically for me. A couple of years ago I did some reading about pruning basil and that makes such a HUGE difference! I am not so confident in my pruning skills that I could tell you how to do it, but if you aren’t currently a pruner of your basil take the time to learn how to do it.
It’s the oddest thing to cut back something in order for it to be able to produce more – but isn’t that so like life? Pruning back is a necessity in all areas.

Anyways, since pruning, my basil goes crazy. Oh! Also a large pot. Basil likes some space for growing.
Pruning and large pot are my two tips for growing basil.

Two summers ago I started to look in to preserving basil. I tried drying it and then turning it into a powder and I just didn’t care ¬†for it a whole lot.
Last summer I read about someone who preserved their basil in olive oil, so I decided to try it too.

It worked beautifully and we all loved it!

I finished up the last of my 2015 basil just as my 2016 basil was coming in.

I decided I was most comfortable storing my concoction in the fridge, but I know not everyone does. When stored in the fridge the oil does solidify a bit which makes it a little funky looking, but it is totally fine. Mine was in the fridge for 11 months with no mold issues.
DSC_1006It is super simple to do – pick your basil (when you prune it, you can use the pruned leaves and then just continually add to the jar all summer long!)
If needed, rinse and dry leaves.
Then add to a glass jar. I use a large sized mason jar.DSC_1012Pour olive oil over the basil leaves until they are covered. I buy the big EVOO from Costco.DSC_1014 DSC_1015And that is it! I cap mine with a plastic lid and then store in the fridge.

After time the oil will be richly delicious with basil scent, and the basil itself is great in recipes.
I used this primarily with eggs and chicken through the year – sometimes just the leaves, sometimes just the oil, and sometimes a bit of both.

I do something very similar with my sundried tomatoes, adding garlic, basil and rosemary. And in smaller batches also including olives. So yummy and such an easy method for preserving basil.

Jessica Lynette