Can You Freeze Thai Basil?
You can surely freeze basil for up to 6 months. The best way to freeze basil is to place it in an ice cube tray first, and after it solidifies, place it in the freezer-safe bag or container and use them according to your need. Freezing might affect the quality of the basil a bit, but still, it is edible.
To preserve fresh Thai basil, you can either store it in sealed containers or put it in your fridge. Even I struggle with using an entire bag of fresh basil at the grocery store, so I sometimes only freeze one or two portions of it at a time. By freezing fresh basil leaves, I was able to keep my basil available all year long, to keep enjoying its fresh flavors regardless of the season.
If your garden has more basil than you can use while fresh, the answer is to put it into a freezer and enjoy the benefits of using fresh basil year-round. Freezing basil is one of the easiest ways to save the leaves from fresh basil when you have too much for you to use all at once, much like freezing garlic. If you do not want to save the individual leaves, you can also freeze basil without blanching it, and flash-freeze it, or you can freeze basil pureed.
You can also freeze your fresh basil leaves using the blanching method, but remove the blanching step. To freeze basil, blanche the leaves, flash-freeze separately, and then combine and freeze long-term in a freezer-safe, airtight container. Generally, we believe that you get better flavor and freshness by blanching the leaves and freezing separately. You can freeze your leaves whole (the fastest, most economical option), or you can freeze your sliced basil with olive oil.
We like freezing basil with olive oil, as the technique helps preserve its flavors and tastes better. I have always felt that freezing basil for preserving through winter is better done by making pesto. You only need so much pesto (plus, it is not the least expensive to make), which is why I researched and wrote 22 more ways to store basil. I will tell you why I do not like freezing basil in ice-cube trays: It is just too oily for the things I normally want to use it for.
Freeze the basil puree in a cube trays, after freezing, pop out the cubes, then store them in a big, sealed plastic bag or freezer-safe container. You can also torn or roughly chopped basil leaves, put in a cube tray, and cover with water, freeze, and store in the same manner. Distribute the basil leaves evenly across an ice cube mold, and cover them with just a little bit more olive oil to coat the leaves — this keeps them from turning colors or getting fried.
If you do not want to let the basil become paste, you can chop the basil leaves with a knife, put a pinch or two into each cube, top it off with olive oil, and then freeze. Once a bit of olive oil has set, pop the basil-oil cubes out of the silicone mold, place in a seal-top freezer bag, and return them to the freezer. Chop & Freeze Add a dash of olive oil, and pulse to coat lightly the leaves in the oil; this will prevent the basil from turning black in the freezer. Wash dry basil leaves thoroughly, and then flash-freeze them, transferring them into a freezer-safe bag, as described with Option 1.
Freezing your basil in one layer this way helps keep leaves from sticking together later, meaning that you will be able to pick up individual basil leaves when ready to use them. To freeze the basil leaves intact, you will need to blanch them in boiling water for 2 seconds first (I like to drop them in a pan and pull them out with a metal strainer). It is important that you make sure to freeze the basil leaves dry, as you do not want any extra water in your bag, which could lead to the basil developing wet spots.
If you harvest the basil plants gently before they are cool, you can pull off the leaves and gently freeze them, preserving them for months. Even if you store your Thai basil in the freezer, you will still notice that the leaf shapes will wilt, and the colors turn black after around 3-4 days. Frozen basil can keep for up to 1 year in the refrigerator, just be aware the leaves can blacken over time. You can just freeze basil leaves, or chop them up and store in a container or a freezer bag, but be aware they can shrink slightly, so your frozen basil will be in a smaller quantity.
Basil that is frozen in butter will take 10-15 minutes to fully thaw (depending on the size of your pat) while whole frozen basil leaves thaw in just a couple minutes. I usually add Thai Basil to stir-fries right at the end, to allow the leaves to simply wilt, so I really do not want to add any extra oil in that step.
I like using frozen with the whole Thai Basil, and Italian Basil too, as we always buy a surplus. The flavors change only slightly when frozen, but definitely has a fresher basil taste than the other methods I used.
Some prefer dried basil because they love the taste it produces, or they like the convenience of crumbling up their leaves to a simple powder. You can use a dehydrator or low-temperature oven to quickly dry it, but if you are not in a rush, simply hang small bundles of basil upside-down in a warm, dry room and let it dry naturally.
Leave basil in the original plastic container, or wash off leaves, wrap them up in paper towels, and store them in a sealable plastic bag for up to 4 days. Use a strainer or slotted spoon to pull them out, then put in cool water for several seconds to chill and stop the cooking.
If you are planning on using the basil/oil cubes in hot dishes, just throw your frozen basil right into the pan. You can use frozen basil (instead of fresh) to make Basil Simple Syrup for Basil Lemonade, Lemon Basil Granita, and Strawberry Basil Sorbet. We have discussed several ways that you can freeze your fresh basil without using a blanching technique. Blanching Technique.
How do you store Thai basil for a long time?
The leaves of the healthy remaining sprigs will soak in water if you immerse them in water for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and spin a salad spinner two or three times to get rid of extra moisture, emptying the water in between. Put the sprigs inside a plastic bag with a zip-top closure and loosely cover them in a paper towel.
Can I freeze basil leaves whole?
You’re not going to cook them. Blanching preserves the bright green color of basil. Retrieve them with a sieve or slotted spoon and place them in cold water for a few seconds to cool them down and halt the frying. Take the leaves out of the cold water bath and pat them dry with a paper towel.
When should basil be harvested?
Begin plucking basil leaves when the plants are 16 to 21 cm tall. Basil will begin to leaf out whenever temps reach 27°C. Harvest early in the morning, when the foliage is at its juiciest. Select the leaves on a regular basis to stimulate development throughout the summer.