Is your garden producing lots of fresh basil right now? Here's an easy way to preserve it that takes just seconds and locks in the wonderful taste and nutrition.
Simply layer olive oil with clean, dry basil leaves in a dry, sterilized jar and a bit of salt. As a general rule, 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt will help preserve one cup of basil.
You can chop or tear the leaves or leave them whole, however you tend to like to use them in recipes.
Be sure to cover the leaves completely with the oil, so that no air is touching them. Then cap the jar and store it in the fridge.
You can use both the basil leaves and the oil for cooking. Just be sure the remaining leaves stay submerged in oil.
This is an often-used method of preserving herbs but keep in mind these food safety tips:
- Be sure your basil leaves and your jar are completely dry. Moisture will encourage bacterial growth.
- Be sure that your basil is completely submerged in oil.
- Be sure that your jar is very clean.
- Be sure your leaves are green and free of blemishes.
- Use common sense and discard if your basil develops an "off" smell or taste.
To use your basil for 30 second pesto:
Scoop out the leaves, allowing most of the olive oil to drain off. Put in food processor and blend, adding a little more of the remaining olive oil slowly, if needed, until it becomes a runny paste. Add some Parmesan cheese, garlic and pine nuts or walnuts (all to taste), blending briefly again. Toss with fresh cooked pasta or use as a topping for a variety of dishes.
This is also a great way to use your basil with surplus garden tomatoes, peppers and/or onions to make Simple Roasted Tomato Sauce.
Also see 30 Wonderful ways to use basil for more ways to preserve, cook with and otherwise enjoy your basil.
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