Basil: How to Grow, Chop & Freeze

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Growing Basil

When it comes to herb gardening, growing basil is one of the easiest things to do. If you’ve never grown herbs before, it is the perfect plant to start with. Basil can be grown inside or outside and requires no special attention.  Basil plants are readily available year round in the produce section of grocery stores or online.
  • Plant in a container that has good drainage in fertilised potting soil.
  • Place the container where it gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.
  • Water enough so the soil stays moist. 
By following these simple tips you will be rewarded with lovely fresh basil leaves for cooking and preserving. 

How to Chop (Chiffonade) Basil

Chopping basil is simple and quick. Here is a short video showing how to chiffonade basil in a way that doesn't bruise the leaves.
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The secret to chopping basil successfully is to pass the  knife through the leaves only once. The up and down of a regular chopping motion will bruise the leaves and turn them dark. By stacking, rolling and slicing the basil leaves, you end up with lovely slivers of fresh, chopped basil. Another way to prepare basil for cooking/preserving is to stack a few leaves and cut them with  sharp kitchen scissors.  

If you don’t grow herbs in an indoor garden, harvesting them from a summer outdoor garden and preserving is the next best thing. Freezing basil is a great way to have it on hand for cooking.  

How to Freeze Basil

What you need:
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Procedure

  • Harvest your basil.
  • Chiffonade with a knife or cut the leaves with scissors.
  • Fill the sections of an ice cube tray with the sliced basil.
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  • When all the bays of your ice cube tray are filled with basil, drizzle olive oil into each bay almost to the rim. 
  • Freeze for 8 hours. 
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Pop the frozen olive oil/basil cubes out of the tray and place them in a  Ziploc freezer bag. They will last in the freezer for up to 6 months.  

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By freezing the basil in olive oil, it is so easy to grab a couple of cubes and saute with your favourite vegetables. Use them to make pasta dishes and any sort of pasta sauce. They also make great starters for soups and stews.  

One of my favourite ways to use chopped basil is to make Caprese Salad. Just combine chopped tomatoes with cubes of fresh mozzarella cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Chiffonade several basil leaves and add to tomatoes/cheese. Drizzle with  olive oil and  balsamic vinegar. Toss well.  Refrigerate for 1 hour and then serve. Delicious! 
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Click the images below for more tips on growing and using herbs from On Sutton Place and eBay!
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WRITTEN BY:  onsuttonplace
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