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Can You Freeze Basil?

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By Ross Young

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Basil is one of the most popular herbs. It’s versatile but also essential in various dishes – especially those of Italian origin. But you know how it is, you end up buying a whole basil plant and then realise you won’t use it all. So what do you do?

Can You Freeze Basil?

Yes, you can freeze basil for up to 6 months. To freeze basil, the best approach is to place the basil into an ice cube tray, cover it with olive oil and then freeze it.

Does Basil Freeze Well? Sometimes

Can You Refreeze Basil? No

How to Freeze Basil

Freezing basil leaves whole is perfectly doable and safe. But it’s not the best approach to take when it comes to freezing basil. However, if you’re pushed for time, then this is the approach you’ll need to take:

  1. Clean: First, give your basil a quick wash. You don’t want to freeze it with dirt or bugs.
  2. Dry: Once washed, give it a good dry. You’ll need to pat it dry with a kitchen towel to absorb any of the excess water.
  3. Remove Leaves: Pull the basil leaves from the stems as you want to freeze the leaves only.
  4. Freeze: Place your leaves into a bag and freezer.

It’s that simple. However, there are drawbacks to this simple method. The leaves may clump together, and you won’t be able to grab a few leaves at a time. This is why this approach is not necessarily the best when freezing basil. 

Frozen Basil Leaves

How to Freeze Basil in Ice Cubes

This is a far better method to follow when it comes to freezing basil. It will allow you to easily give your dishes that tangy hit of basil flavour direct from the freezer.

  1. Clean: Ensure your basil is clean of dirt and bugs, especially if you have harvested it from your own veg patch.
  2. Remove Leaves: Remove the leaves from the stems and dice them up finely. You can do this by rolling the basil leaves up and slicing.
  3. Fill an Ice Cube Tray: Place the diced leaves into the slots of an ice cube tray. You will want to fill each cube up around two-thirds of the way.
  4. Cover with Oil: Top the slots up with olive oil or water until nearly filled. This can also be done with melted butter.
  5. Wrap in Cling Film: Wrap the tray in cling film and then place in the freezer until frozen solid – usually 5 to 6 hours.
  6. Bag Up and Freeze: Once your basil cubes are solid, pop them out and place them into a bag before returning to the freezer.

Don’t be afraid to add other flavours and herbs to your ice cube slots. You could try adding a little crushed garlic, mix it up with some fresh chilli or combine other soft herbs.

3 Tips for Freezing Basil

Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing basil to have the best results:

Mix with Other Herbs
Don’t just freeze basil in cubes. Mix with other herbs, spices or flavourings. An Italian mix of basil, garlic and chilli can be perfect for stirring into pasta sauces. An Asian mix of lemongrass, coriander, garlic and ginger is great for curries and stir-fries. 

Make Sure You Label
If you have frozen multiple herbs, then make sure you label each of them. When frozen, trying to work out which cube is basil and which is parsley can be challenging. 

Opt for the Ice Cube Method
The ice cube method may take a little longer, but it is well worth the effort. This method is the ultimate way to freeze basil (and other herbs).

How Long Can You Freeze Basil?

Basil will last fairly well in the freezer for 4 to 6 months.

With most soft herbs, like basil, you will see some discolouration and degradation in flavour the longer it is left in the freezer. That’s why we will also recommend labelling your frozen basil with the date it needs to be used.

How Long Will Basil Last in the Fridge?

Basil will last for around 2 weeks in the fridge if it is stored fresh and wrapped in a paper towel. After just 1 week, you may notice the leaves begin to wilt but the flavour will still be prominent.

How Do You Defrost Basil?

The good news is that you don’t need to defrost it. If you’re using the ice cube method, you can simply grab a cube from the freezer and toss it into your dish. It’ll melt away, giving your meal that delicious hit of basil.

The same applies to whole frozen leaves.

Can You Refreeze Basil?

We would avoid refreezing basil as the flavour will begin to degrade rapidly, and you may no longer impact your cooking with the flavour of basil.

The only exception is if you have frozen basil and then stirred it into a cooked dish you want to freeze.  

Does Basil Freeze Well?

If you’re looking to freeze basil so that you can impart its flavour to your meals, then yes, it freezes well.

If, however, you were planning on throwing together a Caprese salad with fresh leaves, then think again. The leaves will discolour and lose their texture when frozen.

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing basil or basil in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Basil Butter?

Freezing basil butter is a great way of preserving excess basil. You can either freeze it in one log or freeze it in slices. If you’re freezing in slices, you’ll need to flash freeze the slices on a lined baking tray before storing them in freezer bags.

Can You Freeze Basil Oil?

Basil oil can be frozen using an ice cube tray. Pour the oil into an ice cube tray, wrap the tray in cling film and then freeze. Bear in mind, however, that basil oil will keep in the cupboard for around 1 year.

Can You Freeze Greek Basil?

Greek basil can be frozen in the same way as normal basil. The only difference being that the leaves are smaller, so you will probably want to stick to the ice cube approach.Greek Basil Plant

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