Sunday, August 5, 2012
Harvesting & Freezing Fresh Basil
The best time to harvest basil is right before it flowers and as late in the day as you can to cause less stress on the plants. The best way to harvest it, is by cutting the plant down to about half or even two thirds of it's size. Always cut each stem just above a healthy leaf cluster. This gives you a great amount of the herb to harvest and it allows the plant continue to grow for future harvesting.
With the help of blogs A Pinch Of... and Kalyn's Kitchen I got a little refresher course on how to freeze Basil today and managed to process and store all my basil trimmings for later use.
The whole process is simple really. You trim your basil's tops off, cutting to allow for new growth. The stems are discarded before you rise off your leaves. Once rinsed, dry gently by blotting with towels. After that, move them over to the food processor, lightly filled and pulsate while adding just a light stream of oil, about 2-3 tablespoons. The oil makes for a smooth, manageable mixture, and also helps prevent the leaves from blackening. Once chopped to the degree you desire... I prefer coarsely, then put into your freezing container... an ice cube tray and a few small yogurt tubs, or similar-sized small freezer containers... portion it out in sizes that fit your needs Today, I couldn't find my little ice cub tray I use for herbs so I ended up using a styrofoam egg carton we recycled. This worked out great. Once frozen sold, I popped them out and transferred them to a freezer bag.