If you're lucky enough to get your hands on some fresh Thai basil, you'll want to know how to preserve Thai Basil so you can enjoy its fantastic flavor all year round.
There are several different ways to do this, but the best way is by freezing it. You can freeze it in ice cube trays or in a freezer bag. Another option is to store it with some olive oil.
You can also dry it, but you'll need to do this in a food dehydrator. If you're growing your own Thai basil, you can also preserve it by harvesting the basil plants and hanging them upside down to dry. Read on for some great tips for preserving your Thai basil!
😊 Can You Preserve Fresh Basil?
Yes, you can! In fact, there are many different ways to do it. If you have lots of fresh Thai basil, you may not have time to use it all before it goes bad. But if you preserve it, you can enjoy fresh basil flavor anytime!
There are a number of reasons why you might want to preserve basil. Perhaps you have an abundance of fresh basil and don't want it to go to waste. Or maybe you want to enjoy the fresh taste of basil year-round. Regardless of your reason, preserving basil is a great way to keep it fresh for longer.
Uses for Thai Basil
Thai basil originated in Southeast Asia and is a popular herb used in many flavorful cuisines. It has a licorice-like flavor that is slightly spicy. It is often used in certain Taiwanese dishes as well as stir-fries like Thai tofu, Thai basil chicken, and more. Thai basil is also a good choice for making pesto.
What Are Some Ways to Preserve Fresh Basil?
The best ways to preserve fresh basil are to freeze it, dry it, make it into preservable sauces like pasta sauces or pesto, or even make it into vinegar that you can use for cooking various dishes.
Freeze Basil Leaves
Freezing Thai basil leaves is one of the best ways and to preserve them when you have an abundance. It's also one of the easiest ways to do it. Simply wash the whole basil leaves and dry them thoroughly with a paper towel.
Then, place them on a baking sheet in a single layer and put them in the freezer. Once they're frozen solid, you can transfer them to a freezer-safe container or freezer bag and trim off the frozen leaves with scissors.
When you're ready to use them, just take out as many basil leaves as you need and let them thaw at room temperature. You can also add the frozen basil leaves directly to your cooking pot or pan. Just keep in mind that they may not have the same flavor as the fresh leaves. I usually add 1/4 more of what is called for in a recipe if using frozen.
I take the whole bag out of the freezer and gently open the bag to expose a little bit of the basil. I then carefully snip with scissors what I need and then rezip the bag and place it back into the freezer.
Make Basil Cubes
You can also preserve leftover Thai basil by making it into basil ice cubes. This is a great way to have fresh basil on hand for cooking. Simply wash the basil leaves and dry them thoroughly. Then, place them in an ice cube tray and cover them with olive oil. Put the tray in the freezer and wait for the basil cubes to freeze solid.
To use, just pop out as many cubes as you need and add them to your cooking pot or pan. The basil cubes will thaw quickly and add fresh flavor to your dish.
Make Pesto Cubes
Thai basil gives an absolutely amazing flavor to pesto. So another great way to preserve an overabundance of Thai basil is to make pesto and then make it into pesto cubes.
This way, you can have fresh pesto on hand whenever you need it. Simply make your favorite pesto recipe and then use it to fill up ice cube trays and keep them in the freezer.
To use, remove as many cubes as you need from the tray and add them to your cooking pot or pan. The frozen pesto cubes will defrost quickly and add a fantastic flavor to your dish.
You can also use the pesto cubes to spread sandwiches or wraps. Just let them thaw a bit and heat them up in the microwave or in a saucepan until warm. The pesto also works really well in this Chickpeas Salad with Pesto and Feta recipe.
Dry Basil Leaves
Drying your leftover Thai basil leaves is also a great way to preserve them for a long time. This is one of the most popular methods for preserving fresh herbs. In addition, dry herbs are a great way to season your homemade dishes.
To dry your basil leaves, start by washing them in cold water and then spin them dry in a salad spinner. Next, lay the individual leaves out on a baking sheet or a cookie sheet in a single layer and put them in a dark place to dry.
It's best to check on your basil leaves every day or so to see when they are ready to store. Once they're completely dry, you can keep them in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag.
If you want to dry your basil a bit quicker, you can use a food dehydrator. I use a big food dehydrator that is very similar to this one.
Dried basil leaves will keep for several months and can be used in any recipe that calls for fresh basil. You can also crumble them up and use them as a garnish on salads or pasta dishes. They are especially delicious in this Fresh Tomato Basil Soup recipe.
Make Basil Butter
Basil butter is another excellent way to preserve your Thai basil. This is a wonderful way to add fresh basil taste to a variety of dishes.
To make basil butter, start by washing the basil leaves and then spinning them dry in a salad spinner. Next, place the whole leaves in a food processor along with some garlic cloves and pulse until everything is finely chopped.
Next, place the chopped basil mixture in a bowl and mix it together with some softened butter. You can use this mixture right away, or you can store it in the fridge for later.
Basil butter will keep for several weeks in the fridge and can be used in any recipe that calls for butter. It's especially delicious on grilled meats, vegetables, or as a spread on sandwiches or toast.
Make Basil Vinegar
Basil vinegar is a delicious way to preserve your Thai basil. This vinegar can be used in salad dressings, as a marinade for meats, or simply as a way to add fresh basil flavor to any dish.
To make basil vinegar, start by washing the basil leaves and then spinning them dry in a salad spinner. Next, place the leaves in a glass jar or bottle and cover them with white vinegar.
Let the mixture sit for at least two weeks so that the flavor has time to infuse into the vinegar. After two weeks, strain out the basil leaves and store the vinegar in a dark place. Basil vinegar will keep for several months and can be used in any recipe that calls for vinegar.
Fill your home with the beauty and smell of this wonderful plant. Cut a handful, being sure to have long stems. Strip the leaves off where the basil will be in the water. Place in a beautiful vase and enjoy. When it starts to get a bit droopy, use one of these great ways to preserve Thai basil.
There are many different ways that you can preserve Thai basil. These are just a few of the most popular methods. Experiment and find the method that works best for you and your family. Whatever method you choose, you'll surely enjoy the fresh taste of Thai basil all year long!