Blanching is a quick-cooking method that stops the enzymes that cause food to ripen, reducing the chance of spoilage. This article will show you how to freeze basil with blanching.
Why Freeze Basil Leaves With Blanching?
Basil is a perennial herb widely used in many cuisines around the world. It can be prepared fresh, dried, or frozen.
Fresh basil leaves are not shelf-stable and need to be used within a few days after harvesting. Freezing basil is the best way to preserve its flavor and freshness.
To preserve fresh basil and to make sure that the color and flavor remain intact after freezing fresh basil, it needs to be blanched before freezing.
How to Blanch and Freeze Fresh Basil Leaves
- Bring water to a boil over high heat.
- Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes and cold water.
- Place the basil leaves into a colander, then submerge them in the boiling water for one minute until the leaves turn bright green. Remove from the hot water and quickly place in the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain the leaves and pat them dry with paper towels.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the blanched basil leaves in a single layer. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze the leaves until they are solid.
- Remove the frozen leaves from the baking sheet and place them into a freezer-safe container or ice cube trays. Label the container with the date and freeze for up to six months.
When you are ready to use the basil cubes, remove them from the freezer and let them thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
You can also thaw them in the food processor or microwave by heating on the defrost setting.
Tips for Using Frozen Basil
There are many ways to use frozen basil leaves in your cooking. Here are some tips:
1. Soups and Stews
Add them to soups, stews, and sauces for extra flavor. The leaves will disintegrate as they thaw, so there is no need to chop them before adding them to your dish.
Add frozen basil to your favorite pesto recipe and a little olive oil.
You can also make a large batch of pesto and freeze it for later use. Simply thaw the pesto in the refrigerator overnight before using.
3. Pizza and Pasta Sauces
Add some frozen leaves to your favorite pizza or pasta sauce for extra flavor. The leaves will thaw and blend in with the sauce as it cooks.
4. Herbal Tea
Make a refreshing cup of herbal tea using frozen basil. Simply steep the leaves in boiling water for 5 minutes and enjoy.
Basil in ice cube trays can also be used to flavor drinks such as iced tea and lemonade.
Add frozen basil leaves to your favorite salad with olive oil for a pop of color and flavor.
Now that you know how to freeze basil leaves with blanching, you can enjoy the flavor of this versatile herb all year round.
Try basil ice cubes or dried basil in your favorite recipes, or use a salad spinner to wash and dry the basil before freezing.