Posted by Tim Vidra / Thursday, September 20, 2012
Preserving Fresh Basil for Winter Use
Nothing beats fresh basil and nothing beats not having to pay $2.99 in January for fresh basil. So technically I guess fresh is subjective, but this method is a great way to preserve basil now for use up to 6 months later in your fridge.
So yes, my basil bolted and was starting to droop, turn yellow, and was basically dying — a sad seasonal cycle called the end of summer. Cutting the organic basil grown from seed, I trimmed the lower half off until I was left with mostly beautiful big green leaves of basil.
I then rinsed the stalks and gave them a good shake to remove the heaviness of the water and put them on the back deck railing to dry completely (about 2 hours). Note my dog (2 year old Weim aptly named Basil) smelling the basil. Also note in the way back distance my olive oil can planter which has a new round of mesclun greens growing to enjoy in early fall!
It really becomes a layering process at this point. Using a WECK canning jar I layered the bottom with 1/4" of kosher salt and began layering the leaves, covering each layer with another layer of salt.
Once finished, you seal the jar and place it in the fridge. The basil should keep for up to 6 months. Salt has been used as a means to preserve food for years and this is one French way or technique of preserving basil to this day.
Here in Richmond, Virginia we are lucky in the fact that most thyme, rosemary, and some hearty oregano does make it through the dead of winter. It is nice to know I can enjoy some of my fresh basil right up until I can start planting it fresh again in the spring.
How about you — have you had success bringing some herbs indoors? Any other tried and true methods? Do tell!
E.A.T. local E.A.T. well