You are not going to believe this super easy method used by many for “Preserving Fresh Basil.” Here’s how I recently found out…My husband was on Skype with his sister in NY last Saturday night. I was
being nosey minding my own business while making sauce & meatballs while they chatted. Turns out, she was making sauce too. Imagine that?
Eventually, I heard her explaining how our Aunt Loretta stores her fresh basil in the refrigerator.
I didn’t waste any time. I tried it the next day since I had fresh basil growing in our kitchen window, but it wasn’t doing so good. That basil needed to be preserved before it rotted, so this was perfect timing.
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(Here’s how I made the “Candelabra Planter” out of ceiling fan shades.)
Imagine the possibilities here with preserving fresh basil.
*fresh basil all year
*infused basil flavored olive oil to use in everything
*perfect for sauces, soups, sandwiches, subs, salads, garlic bread, etc.
*so incredibly good for you
So here’s how you go about preserving fresh basil…
You will need 4 things: Jar, basil, salt, olive oil.
Clean your fresh basil in cold water, and let it air dry well.
Find a clean glass container with a lid.
Sprinkle a little salt (I used Kosher) on the bottom of the jar.
Add a little basil.
Add a little olive oil.
Repeat salt, basil, oil.
Repeat salt, basil, oil.
Repeat until your container is full, or you’re out of basil.
Be sure to press down so to cover all of the basil with oil & salt.
Put the lid on it.
Label your container with the date.
My family stores it this way for up to 1 year.
It’s up to you how long you want to store the basil for.
This is what mine looked like after I took a little scoop out and let it warm up on the counter for 5 minutes:basil, basil storage tips, chilling basil, cold basil, easy basil storage, fresh basil, how to store basil, jarred basil, old school basil preserving, preserving basil, refrigerator basil Posted by
Will definitely try this too!!! Thanks! Oh…when you say repeat repeat repeat…do you mean the salt also, or just just adding the salt on the bottom of the jar?
Yes, the salt too! Thanks Monica…I will make that more clear! 😉
Thanks Julie! Really am enjoying your blog/website. You make me laugh 🙂
Thanks, Monica!! That’s one of my goals…trying to have some fun on here too 😉
Julie your suggestion on preserving basil is very good although I’ve never used any salt. My method of preserving it is simply to ” dredge ” the leaves through the olive olive oil ( once I’ve rinsed and dried them between paper towels ), and placing them in a wide mouth container so that I can ” peel ” away the number of leaves I need each time and placing the container back in the refrigerator or freezer . Yes the leaves will be darker than when they were freshly picked but the flavor and nutrients are still there and for those who are watching their salt free diets, there isn’t any. Ben
Thanks Ben. I was turned off some because of all the salt!!! You have great comments! 😉
I’ll try this. I freeze fresh basil in dollar store ice cube trays with water. When the cubes freeze, they go in a freezer bag. When I need basil, cubes are added to what is cooking.
So cute! Love this idea.
I use a similar method–freeze the basil in olive oil in ice cube trays. When I need basil, I add olive oil basil cubes.
I do this also, it works great.
This is a great suggestion. I’m going to try it. Any ideas for mint
you can do the same thing with mint but use water instead of oil. then you can pop one in your tea or water that you are flavoring with mint.
if you don’t want to water down your iced or hot tea you can also brew tea, cool then put the mint and tea in icecube trays and freeze. then when you put in your tea it won’t water it down!
You use oil and salt on the mint? Doesn’t that alter the taste of mint? I understand basil, but when you want to use it do you rinse it off and still taste minty? Edythe
Will try for sure. Ihave a lot of basil thls year thank youi
Thanks so much, this is much easier than making and freezing pesto and I think it will be more versatile.
Yes, indeed Wendy!
When you are ready to use the basil, do you rinse the oil?
Totally up to you, Francine. Rinsing would help the whole “solidifying oil” issue.
Can this really work? I’ve always wished I knew of a way to preserve the wonderful fresh basil that seems to die on me before I can use a fraction of it. Just looking at my basil plant yesterday and shaking my head. Can’t wait to start shoving it into a mason jar before it knows what hit it. Thank you for sharing the solution to one of life’s big mysteries! :-))
I never thought of doing it like this. I always put mine in a ziploc bag and freeze it.
The basil stays green?
The basil will turn darker and the oil will solidify. No worries, just rinse with warm water or allow to warm up to room temp.
Girl, first, I’m just so impressed you use “real” basil!! LOL!! I’m more of a “dried” kinda gal! This is awesome!!! Maybe I need to change my ways!!! You’re definitely inspiring me!~~Ang
Hey Angela, give a whirl! So much more flavor 😉
If you are using dried herbs, use in God a mortar and pestle to crush them or as I sometimes due if useing smaller amounts of herbs I put the dried herbs in the palm of one hand and rub the side of the other hand back and forth rapidly to quickly crush the herbs right over the pot I am cooking in. Crushing herbs prior to using releases much more of the flavor and therefore you can actually use less herbs. Don’t throw away older dried herbs, just use more to get the flavor you desire. Dried herbs will last for many years if kept out of sunlight so never store them out on the counter! Store in a cool dark dry place and enjoy.
Thank you gor such great tips, Johnette!
As a Chef I should point out (for those who don’t already know!), If using dry herbs/spices you can add near the beginning as they take much longer to release their flavour. However, you should only add Fresh Herbs in the last 20 minutes or so… and remember, the smaller you cut the herbs, the faster they release their flavour.
It never occurred to me about adjusting the time of adding depending on the size chopped. Thank you for this tip!
Nice blog! It’s my first visit. I followed a link to your post about a tour of the fall colors in Michigan. It caught my attention, I’ve been a Michigan girl my entire life. It’s such a beautiful state. But, the basil preserving….sweet!!!! I have 2 huge and 1 small pot of basil that I had to move into the garage, you know what the weather has been like here. Was going to make and freeze basil again, but I will have to try your method with some of it. It sounds so easy and useful. Thanks for the tip, and keep up the good work.
Do you really have to use the salt as I use almost no salt for health reasons?
I would, yes!
Why do you need the salt?
It’s a natural preservative.
Could this method be used with other herbs as well? I have a huge herb garden out front but have been unsure how to store them. Just wondering! 🙂
Great question…I bet it’s on line somewhere? I may try that too, Krista!
I live in Las Vegas too. Every time I have tried to grow basil in a pot the same thing happened to me. This summer I put it in the ground (garden box with good soil) and it is so big!!!!! It’s the best plant in the garden. Hope that helps
I used to try and grow cilantro in big pots on my deck but they were spindly and “bolted” too quickly even though I kept cutting it back. Our local greenhouse/nursery said the cilantro needs to be planted in the ground for it to thrive. May want to check if this applies to other herbs. I grow basil in flower boxes on my deck with no problems. FYI Chamomile does really well in flower boxes also. I also was told not to fertilize herbs. Hot weather causes “bolting” and things like radishes and lettuce to be hot or bitter.
Hi Julie~~This is my first time here and I just love it! I would love to try this but would have to go buy the basil from the market. I can’t count the times I’ve tried to grow basil. I live in Las Vegas, where, mostly all you can grow is cactus! Sort of kidding. Whenever I’ve tried to grow basil (I’ve always bought a small plant from Walmart) or somewhere like that. I try to “pinch” off the leaves, but usually nothing grows back. The leaves get smaller and smaller, and the “stem” gets scrawny and then it’s trash time. Does anyone have any ideas? I always keep the plant in the house.
I have bought thyme and put it in a plastic container lined with damp paper towels. It will last for at least 2-3 weeks. Periodically I will wet my hand and flick the paper towels that have been folded over the thyme. I will try the thyme in the oil as I have some in the fridge. Your idea about the basil is fantastic!
I have the same problem with Basil, Diane. I believe the plants require a certain amount of sun. Could that be the issue?
I had the same problem. I learnt that basil needs alot of light so I moved it to a sunny east window sill and now It Is thriving
I always had the same problem with Basil until one year a bought a pot that did not have a drainage hole and had a plastic tray on the bottom allowing about an inch of space at the bottom. Oh my, I couldn’t believe the difference. My plant grew so large I had trouble using all of it, gave some to friends and neighbors. Give it a try. Don’t forget to pinch the tops often…you can even bring them in the house and place in a cup of water and they will stay fresh and root just like you get in the grocery store.
Thanks for the awesome tips, Lisa!
The pot did NOT have a drainage hole? Where was the plastic tray? I’m not visualizing this? I LOVE Basil and would love to have it grow like you do! How much sun? How much water?
I think she means that there was no drainage hole b/c a plastic insert that did have holes was inside the pot at the bottom of the pot itself. There was about an inch of elevation allowing for water drainage into the bottom of the pot itself. it is like a self-watering pot.
Basil likes water. A lot.
Diane, do you keep your basil plant near a sunny window and also keep the soil that the basil is planted in moist? Do you plant the basil in actual soil or simply keep watering the same soil your basil came with? Most important, transplant your basil in a larger container than the one it came in. Basil needs lots of root space to fed the growing leaves and a little manure or lots of compost. If you do all of these things you’ll have plenty of basil leaves and when you ” pinch ” as you should, you’ll have additional branching shoots. Good luck and don’t forget that good old sunshine for the basil. Ben
Thank you for these awesome tips, Ben!
I live in North Texas where it does get very hot (not Nevada hot) but still hot. My back patio planter by my house gets sun from noon until the sun sets, so lots of sun. Basil is one of the few things I will plant because I can put in in the ground. I seem to kill any and all container plants 😖 (even cactus and other supposedly hard to kill plants 😂)
You would consider this a “raised bed” if you are wondering what kind of planter.
Right now we are in the throes of a heat wave like most of the country (over 100 degrees for many days now) and I water my plants 2 times a week and they are over 3 feet tall and full. I usually cannot find a way to use all the basil, so I hope this method of preserving works. I just wanted to let you know you can grow basil outside in the heat. Since my house is small and the front is east and the back is west, a lot of plants will die because it is too much heat and sun, but my basil always thrives. If you have a place you can plant in the ground, try a small raised bed. Put in good garden soil that drains well (miracle grow or similar.) and basil and rosemary are super easy to grow, yield great amounts and tolerate heat really well. Good luck!👍
You need to prune your basil, cut bunches all around your plant, not just individual leaves. This will encourage it to grow back fuller and healthier, Use what you’ve cut off, of course. Pesto or many other things.
Who knew? What a great tip to find out! I have tons of basil in my garden right now. Thanks and happy Sunday!
It’s pouring rain here , but I’m going out to the garden to harvest my basil. l have been drying it but like it better fresh and I always add olive oil anyway. Great idea.
I can’t thank you enough for sharing this! I just found you today via Pinterest. Can’t wait to explore your site some more…. and preserve my basil now that fall is here.
This is an awesome concept but do you have to keep the jar in the fridge? How long would the basil keep like this but in the pantry?
Yes, it needs refrigeration.
Please see my comment below about botulism. It is not safe to leave it in the pantry for any length of time.
I’ve been making basil infused olive oil — wonderful with some dried herbs and balsamic vinegar for dipping fresh baked bread — but the addition of salt and refrigeration would likely preserve the leaves better. I’ll be trying this next time I prune my plants. Thanks!
When I can, I was told by my Extension Service in my county and in canning books that iodized salt will turn pickles dark. I imagine this would be the same for other produce or herbs.
can i use iodized salt or iodized rock salt instead?
Not sure on that, I used iodized kosher salt which is coarse like rock salt.
This is a great idea. I will harvest my basil and fill up a jar. Then I’ll blog about it and give all the credit to you!
Thanks for sharing!
Linda @ Tumbleweed Contessa
Talk about in the nick of time.
One of my friends on a cooking group shared this with me as I was posting a few days ago I need to harvest my basil as I have tonnes of it. I have ran out of ice cube containers that I have using for the basil and olive oil and this looks fantastic
Awesome awesome awesome
Once you freeze your herbs in your ice cube tray twist them out and place in a labeled ziplock bag so you can reuse your trays.
I use olive oil, I also freeze and dehydrate my basil. I make flavored vinegars too.
Question: Do you know if this would work with rosemary as well?
I don’t know, Alli!
Do you know if this technique works with curry as well??
yes it does, I also grow rosemary and store it in oil. However, rosemary is easily dried and stored in glass jars for use during the winter
You don’t need to preserve rosemary. It is the hardiest plant you can find. I have 6 huge ones adorning my front yard, and I can go out and cut it to use and day of the year. Just buy a small plant, plant it outside, and use. It also may get larger than you want. Mine get 4 or five feet high. I hear it’s a good idea to cut some for a vase too, and smell it to help your brain. I tell neighbors and friends to stop and smell the rosemary and cut all they want.
Where do you live? I am in Michigan, can you still plant rosemary outside? Thanks
Rosemary needs to overwinter indoors if it freezes where you live. I’ve had mine several years. I live near Lake Ontario, N.Y.
I had a large rosemary plant….loved it! I lost it to a hard winter freeze one year (Va)and haven’t tried again. I’m just now, with the arrival of my 1st grandchild, getting into clean eating and finding it it a challenge! I will be following your blog. (I’m prepping my basil as I type,lol)
Did you find out if we can do this with other herbs? I have a bunch of rosemary, chives and parsley.
I don’t know, Vickie.
Any certain kind of olive oil; i.e. extra light or extr virgin?
I used extra virgin.
Hi there… You actually don’t need the salt nor the refrigeration. I’ve lived in Italy for years and covering basil in oil is a regular thing but it is never put in the fridge. Stays fresh and is delish
Very interesting, Jackie!
I’ve read this online also. I can my vegetables from my garden and was told by my county Extension Service and in the canning books to follow their strict instructions because of the chance of botulism. Frankly, people have canned for years that don’t follow the rules and nothing happens. You take that upon yourself if you want to chance it.
Perhaps in Italy there is very little botulism in the soil, so you have not had problems. However, in many parts of the world, keeping non-refrigerated herbs (even dried herbs) in oil can be deadly, since botulism is present. Refrigeration will prevent botulism from growing.
Great idea! I often harvest my basil leaves and put them straight into freezer bags. Once frozen, I just take out what I need to cook with and chop while still frozen. They maintain that great fresh taste.
Do you this process will work with other herbs? Fennel, rosemary, mustard.what do you think. I’m so doing this. Thanks for sharing.
I don’t know, Jeanne 🙁
I wonder if you could use coconut oil?
How many basil leaves before starts the process over and over again??? I love this idea….capressi salad all year long with the tomatoes canned whole for just that reason! I am stoked!! Thank you very much 🙂
I don’t think we count. Just load ’em up. 🙂
That is brilliant! I’m totally trying this out.
I believe you can also do the same with garlic (peeled).
my mother did this with garlic & oil worked well for her …
i ferment my garlic then refrigerate
I live in Perth Western Australia.I have 5 basil plants in my backyard & they are in flowers & you gave me idea of preserving fresh basil leaves.Thank you so much Julie for the info. It will be a great christmas gift for friends.Once again Thank you.
Thank you for sharing! I will set up a large batch of basil seeds in a planting tray, get them growing to the max and follow your instructions. And, that candelabra planter is totally cool.
I’m going to do this with pink himalyain salt which is good for you unlike regular salt and sea salt which are over processed.
Thanks for the idea to use up my basil before winter!
For those with salt restricted diets, salt is salt. It does not matter if it is sea salt, table salt, iodized salt, pink himalyain salt, kosher salt, celtic salt, they are ALL salt.
I was wondering about the pink salt, too….we use this instead of regular salt. Did it turn out good for you?
I just jarred my traditional basic green basil and my amethyst basil using pink Himalayan sea salt (it’s our every-day salt, always in a bowl on the counter salt). Can’t wait to taste the outcome in a recipe!
I love the idea of storing the Basil. A funny story-for 2 years I had awesome Basil growing in Arizona under the eaves in the shade. Well, this year I bought Basil 2 times & each time it died. I was upset, of course, & just decided not to bother this year. One day I looked out in the rocks in the back yard & there growing was a lovely little Basil plant. It didn’t get water, fertilizer or soil! I go out now & take off the blooms & it’s growing like crazy. Go figure! God is good!
It’s because rocks have minerals and most things grow great in rocks. Man doesn’t like rocks in his garden and doesn’t realize how powerful they are in a garden.
Can you chop up the basic or do you need full leaves?
Not sure! I would stick to leaves, as when you chop up basil it turns brown and funky.
I’m considering adding some garlic cloves to mine….what do you think about that?
Hi Suzy, I’ve heard it can spoil, so I would stick to just the leaves.
Hi Julie! love your blog..We owned inns for 16 years…and love herbs..especially Basil, Thyme, Rosemary…Great idea for the Basil. We grow 3 large pots of Basil here in Texas. And they grow to bushes in size. They are in partial Sun where the afternoon is right on them for 5 hours or so. We water them about every 3 days and LOVE Sun. We tried for years to bring them indoors..but in all honesty, it is easier to start yearly plantings in May. For the lady in Vegas…Basil in a large planter outside should do very well. I just use a new pot of organic veggie soil every year..and feed monthly.
BRILLIANT! I’m doing this ASAP and that candelabra planter is to die for. Following you REdhead!
Can you freeze fresh basil?
Yes, I do that too. Just throw it in a zippy.
I used basil in pesto and bruchetta. What do you use it in after storing in refridgerator?
For our family, mostly tomato sauce, or any dishes that include tomatoes. The list is endless!
Where did you get the candelabra you used for growing the basil? I want one!
I made it here Jill:http://redheadcandecorate.com/4/post/2014/05/candelabra-flower-pot-upcycled-ceiling-fan-shades.html
Just reading preserving fresh basil, and am really excited, as I have a huge amount this year and need to harvest soon. I have been making pesto, but will be happy to have preserved fresh basil.
I live in Las Vegas, and read another post from someone in Las Vegas that said they could not grow basil. The secret is shade. I grow mine in pots in the shade under the palm trees. Lots of water and they thrive! Just keep pinching back to make them spread out. I start with a small plant from the local grocery in the spring, then get a package of seed and spread around the original plant. This year I have three types of basil, and as I said, I have a huge crop.
Hope this helps you, and thanks again for the information on preserving it fresh.
Excellent information, Katy!! Thank you!
Could you use avocado oil instead of olive oil?
Thanks in advance!
I’m trying this right now! Thank you for some new inspiration
You can use any type of oil for this….
If you have problems growing your basil….remember that it needs FEEDING even if you keep it on the window sill in the kitchen.
Don’t plant/keep your plants in full sun…the leaves become hard and yellow. Half shade is just perfect!
great idea will try. I grow a large supply in the family garden every year, partial shade works great and they do best when planted next to pepper plants. My method of storing is to combine with minced fresh garlic also harvested at the same time. I add olive oil and freeze in small ziploc bags. I neatly arrange all the snack sz ziplocs in a larger freezer bag and take out one bag per serving. No salt is necessary with this method. I have also heard you can do the same thing freezing your minced basil and olive oil in ice cube trays then removing the cubes to a large freezer bag once frozen solid.
Wow! Found a different suggestion on pinterest that recommended putting fresh herbs in ice cube trays, filling with olive oil then freezing. Purchased different colored trays to color code but I may have to return them… Love the mason jar idea! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Julie for the good tip
Love the thought of having fresh basil in the winter!!! (I refuse to buy a few leaves of basil for a gazillion bucks at the grocery store.) Thanks for sharing this!
If you don’t need it “fresh” (for a salad or sandwich), you can fill ice cube trays with your basil and then pour stock or water over it & freeze. You could even use marinara sauce as your liquid. I usually roll a bunch of leaves up & then slice the roll (chiffonade?) to give me about a tablespoon worth of basil per cube. I use the rubbery ice cube trays so that once the cubes are frozen I can easily pop them out. Then I store them in a single layer inside a freezer baggie, labeled with what type of liquid I’ve used for that batch. When I want basil for my soups or sauces I just pull out a cube (or two) & drop it in the mix.
Can you do this with other herbs besides basil?
WOW! (and duh?) what a great idea! Why haven’t I thought about this before! So glad I stumbled upon this, once it gets warm enough to grow it!
I was looking for some recipe to preservate bassil; then, i found yours in pinterest. Thanks! It works exactly the way you describe it. My mom and I are very excited. We love your blog. Hugs and the best wishes from Mexico City.
I don’t have a comment but, I do have question referring to preserving basil. Can this also be done with other herbs?
I do not know, Joe. She only did (does) this with Basil.
This was a great tip. I tried it with other herbs as well. The parsley got way too wilted, but sprigs of Dill, Rosemary, and sage seem to be holding out well (fingers crossed).
Might I point out a spell/grammar check error? “…or you’re all out of basil.” Don’t mean to be verbiage snob, it caught my eye, and I assumed you’d like to know.
This is like magic! We love love love basil and to have it all year would be fabulous! Doing this today!!!! Thanks so much!
Will the oil not go rancid if it is not in the fridge?
This is the best tip ever!!! I usually hurry and make big batches of pesto to freeze at the end of the season so I can use all my basil before winter comes. Will it work for other herbs too? I have TONS of oregano in my garden already and summer is just starting 🙂
I live in the desert of Southern California and my basil grows in the shade with very little sunlight. Keep it watered and pinch it back and it will grow. LOVE THIS IDEA!!!! Thank you so much. I’m off to purchase some jars. Great gift idea also. Thanks again. ~ Deb
In regard to basil plants dying, my mom has told me not to plant it outdoors until at least mid may and don’t over water! Good luck.
i just picked some fresh basil and was wondering how to preserve it! Perfect timing………thank you!
Just cut your basil and place in water in sunny window. Will have roots in a week or two and plant outside. Free basil plants
Does it get soggy its this technique?
Best. Tip. Ever. Thank you so much!!
I have always rolled my basil in paper towel and then in Ziplock bag in freezer. It works great but will try this too. Plus will put some garlic cloves in jar or a poblano pepper too. Then it will be ready when I make my pasta sauce!!
i am so happy I found this, THANK YOU! I always give to my neighbors, I have the perfect spot in my backyard it grows like crazy year after year!
What do you think about chopping it up first?
It will turn brown faster.
I blanch mine for 30-45 seconds to preserve the bright green color, plunge in ice water and then dry in a single layer between paper towels. Some of the leaves are dried, some frozen in light olive oil and some in water. All are good!
this is an amazing method, i can save all the money wasted on basil that i throw after a few days
I put basil leaves in ice cube trays and freeze them . after they freeze I put into zip lock bags. Stay green and fresh. When needed put cubes into sauce or whatever you need it for. Never fails.
Great tips. Question: Can grapeseed oil be used instead of olive oil?
Can you do this to all herbs with olive oil?
I am so glad to find your blog, especially how to preserve basil in olive oil! Basil is one herb that tends to grow like crazy in my garden. I plant my herbs in an area in my flower bed near the patio, just outside the shade line. Thanks Julie!
I always grow my basil in a planter with several other herbs on my deck in full sun and keep the soil lightly moist. I’ve done this in Texas and now Arkansas and feed it with Miracle Grow fertilizer in the spray bottle that comes with it that you attach to your hose. I have enough to feed the neighborhood during the summers. It grows awfully fast and needs to be harvested often to keep it from blooming. During the fall and winter of last year, it re-seeded itself and I now have basil plants growing in most of my other planters containing roses, hibiscus, etc.. Julie, your recipe sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing!!
Can you do this in canning the basil or does it have to be in frig??
I do not know, Patricia.
I just looked at my large basil plant this morning & wished I could preserve it somehow — & voila!! Thanks for this info.
Hi Jule , Just wondering how much salt do you use per qt. jar/ pt. jar and is it necessary because of the fridge? I too have preserved my basil for years in cubes, and in pesto, but in the freezer I love this idea but have to watch the salt in the family’s diet. I never put salt in my pesto but as I have said it is frozen.
Thank you in advance for you answer also for this great preservation tip.
I don’t have a specific measurement from our Aunt, I’m sorry! I just sprinkled a little in on each layer.
Thank you Julie for the response, I will try it with a little and see how it goes It is early enough so I will try a few different amounts and see what works best. Again great idea thanks for sharing.
Awesome I love basil and grow them in a pot so I will definitely try to preserve them.
Thanks, I have three huge pots outside one purple basil and two sweet basil. Now all that goodness does not have to go to waste. Plan on making some pesto as well. This is a wonderful tip!!
I have a question, by pinching the tops do you picking the leaves or taking off the little buds with the flower??
Great question…wish I knew too!!!
After drying my basil the leave turned a little brown will that be ok
I would only use fresh leaves, Sandy.
Another idea is to freeze the basil with oil in ice block trays once frozen place in a container in the freezer then you already have the portion sizes for your cooking!
Thank you Julie! This basil-saving method is a lifesaver because I have several wonderful and large plants in the garden, and I was just hoping there could be some way to preserve it so it stays flavorful. I found that drying it takes most of the flavor away. I love your blog and read it every time. I’m a redhead, too — nice to meet you!
Great to meet you too, Kate!!
HI! I’ve been searching the web for ideas for my awesome basil harvests! I came here and found your idea intriguing! However, on another site someone said this method could lead to botulism. I sterilized my jar. Any ideas or thoughts on this? Thanks!
My family has been using this method for years. No one has ever gotten sick.
Thanks for this. Been trying to no avail. Now i know the trick is the salt and drying the leaves completely. Running to thr kitchen now 🙂
This is my first time on your blog, and I will be back many more times I’m sure. I pinned this post several months ago as we were planting our two “small” basil bushes. Lo and behold we now have 2 HUGE basil trees bursting with leaves everywhere. How did this happen???? No special care taken at all, all organic soil, no fertilizing, no special watering. (PS> our chive plants are humongous too.) So beside a truckload of pesto, I was in a quandary about what to do with the remaining leaves. Julie, thank you so much for the suggestion of canning the leaves with salt and olive oil. Also Ben for the suggestion with out salt! I was ready to simply freeze them, but I think this would be another great use for them – especially as gifts. Going to Walmart this week before gardening for jars and oil. Wish me luck!
Good luck!! 🙂
Do you think other oils might work…like avocado oil?
I do not know, Pat.
This basil tip is great; having it fresh n handy all the time; even in the winter…..how great is that?! By the way Julie, I tried the crock pot baked bread……awesome!!!! That’s the best way to make it especially in summer when we don’t want the heat from the oven in the kitchen. Thank you.
I love it too, Carol…nice and crispy on the outside if you let it go a bit.
Can you use other herbs? I would like to try sage and rosemary. What do you think?
I don’t know, Linda. My family has only tried Basil!
Thank you for the great idea!
I live in Brazil and I have a big herb garden. I’ll try to preserve the other herbs too.
Thank you again!
Thanks for this tip.
My basil goes bad in the fridge. =)
I will definitely use it.
Hi! Do you know if this will work for other herbs/leaves? I want to try this for cilantro, curry leaves, etc. Thanks!!
I don’t know.
Brilliant idea , thanks for sharing. One question, can I use used sauce jars from the supermarket, properly cleaned of course, instead of mason jars. This is very timely as I sowed a pack of basil seeds and every one came up , I have dozens now lol good way to use them up ?
I would use a new jar with a screw on cap that was very clean.
Can coconut oil be used instead?
I don’t know, Marsha. I have heard great things about it though, lately!
Thank you so much for posting “How To Preserve Basil”. I have been wondering how to do this, and it is the first time that I have seen the procedure. I love basil, but every time that I buy a bunch it dries up so quickly, that I end up dumping it and never getting to use it that much.
I will be trying it out as soon as I can get to the store and buy some.
Keep up the good work!
Hi- in response to Ben above who says not to use salt- I must warn you that SALT is necessary because if you do not use it in the oil the oil become rancid after a few months- even in the fridge! It is an ugly mess- so the salt is totally necessary.
I had a neighbor years ago who was Italian. She said to break off the leaves and put them in a plastic bag and freeze them. I have saved my basil this way ever since. I still have some in the freezer from last summer. Don’t take it out of the freezer until you’re ready to use it because it thaws out. Just chop or break it up and you’re good to go.
I do this, too, Nancy! Great tip…
Hello! I have tired to grow Basil for many years with not the best of luck. However, last summer I put it in my raised bed and it grew like crazy! I was so proud of myself but did not know what to do with that much so I gave it to a friend at work and my neighbor. They loved me!!!! Anyway, I’ve never eaten Pesto, don’t be so shocked, lol, but when you eat it on pasta is that all you put on the pasta, just the pesto???? I have planted 5 plants this summer so I’m hoping it grows like last year!!!!
Yes, Lana…you put on as much or as little as you prefer on hot pasta and toss it around so it covers the pasta! 🙂
Do you have to start with enough basil to fill the jar or can you add to it as you go?
Hi Lana! I would keep batches separate, lana, You don’t have to fill the jar completely either.
When I took cooking classes in Japan, you can do this with garlic to, but you use white wine. The olive oil would be good too.
I have gobbs of basil growning, even between my patio stones. I ususally cut and give the fresh basil to people at work a couple of times a season, but this will be great to give them in fall. Thanks!
Hi, wanted to share a little trick I was taught. Warm a cup of olive oil in a small pot. After prepping the basil and drying it etc, dip the basil, stems and all in the olive oil and put it in a bowl to cool. Make sure to coat them all well. You can pop it all in a jar and put it in the fridge, but I whiz it in the processor and put it in a small container(or Ziploc if you like) The container goes in the fridge or if a Ziploc, lay it flat, remove the air and seal, then pop it in the freezer. Break pieces off when needed, you could do the ice cube tray thing too with this I suppose, if wanting a certain amount. This stays nice a green and I have never had discoloration. If there is a little air space in the container, the surface may darken but a little plastic wrap may help with that. Just scoop out what you want and return to the fridge. Cheers!
Awesome tip, Su! Thanks for sharing! ~ Julie
I have so much basil…..trying to preserve what was left…thank you for this. we have made pesto, frozen it – but I LOVE this one the best. thank you …..
Thanks for the great tip! Last year I froze basil in oil in an ice cube tray. When it was frozen I put the cubes in a freezer bag. I like your tip and will try it this year.
Since you all love growing your own herbs, you really must check out the Tower Garden. This will be a great solution for preserving the basil I grow in mine. I was dehydrating it but love the idea of fresh basil. I grow tons of different lettuces, and herbs in my Tower. If interested, I’ll be happy to share more info.
I love this Idea, But do you have a more exact amount of oil and salt you used? I used a large mouth 16 oz mason jar. I’m just not sure if I used enough salt as I’m watching my salt intake and not sure if its should be just lightly coated will with olive oil or soaked/submerged.
I lightly coat ours.
I have my 1st aerogarden & my herbs are going crazy. I came across this method for preserving Basil, which is great because my basil grows about 1/2-1inch a day. The secret to this is to keep the bowl FULL of water, LED lighting 17 hrs a day plus indirect sunlight for the entire time there is daylight. Now I hope I can do this salt & oil in a jar in the fridge to preserve some of my other herbs….sage, marjoram, thyme, mint, rosemary, chives, Shungiko & cilantro? Any input on that possibility? Thanks for the great ideas. Sharon
Hi! Thanks for the great recipe. I made them in october and now when I wanted to start using them, I noticed through the oil that the basil had a bit of “fur” on them. Hope this is not mold?
Thanks for your reply!
Hmmm…to be safe I would not eat it. I don’t recall fur.
Will this work with other herbs, as well?
Does it have to be a glass jar? I’ve been trying to eliminate alot of waste in my kitchen at work by trying different storage methods for our stock. We have recipes on our menu but the stock doesn’t match the demand so alot of times our fresh basil goes bad before we even use 1/4 of it. I often have empty plastic salad dressing jars that seem like they would be perfect to throw through the dishwasher a couple times and repurpose for this.. but some preservation of foods are limited to only glass jars, something about plastic doesn’t always keep as well as glass?
I would use glass.
Yes you can. I wouldn’t ever use them for canning but for something like this, I do it all the time. You dishwasher is great at sanitizing. They are also great for keeping dried herbs in. Just be sure your dried herbs are cool and ‘crunchy’ before putting in jar and closing lid.
Amazing!!!!! Thank You!
Wouldn’t u be able to leave it out at room temp? I have basil growing, and in my research everyone says its best preserved at room temp, that cold is no good for it, unless frozen, so I don’t see any reason why u couldn’t just keep it out? I’ve also had infused o.o. b4 and it’s never required refrigeration?
This is a great idea especially since I plan to make up some jars for Christmas gifts.
I tried this and it is easy! Hoping it doesn’t end up tasting too salty.
I always make jelly jars of pesto and store in the freezer every summer. I have also frozen basil in ice cube trays in olive oil. When frozen, I keep the cubes in a ziplock bag and just throw a cube in whatever I’m cooking. I have also put fresh basil in a bottle with tight fitting lid, and poured cider vinegar over the leaves. After a few days the infused vinegar is delicious over salad. For everyday ease of use, dried basil keeps for years. I cut the plants back and dry in a basket until crisp then store in a ziplock freezer bag or a decorative jar in the cabinet. At the end of the growing season, I pull the plants up, rinse well and pat dry. Then I hang the entire plant upside down in my basement storage room to dry completely before stripping the leaves and storing. Have done this successfully for years.
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This looks like a great method!! I’ve been wondering about other ways to save my basil besides pesto of course!!
I have seen this method of preserving basil and am going to try it this year. Other wise I have just put fresh leaves in a zippy bag and put in the freezer. color stays nice and green but you do have to put it in what ever you are using it for quickly as they unthaw fast. I also do it that way for all my herbs, thyme,oregano, rosemary. its just like fresh.
Hi, I have a large herb garden and am always looking for different ways to preserve. This is a new one to try, I usually dry or freeze, with basil and parsley I make pesto; it’s not just for pasta! It’s great on meat & veggies too.
Regarding rosemary, I am in central Jersey. I planted a small rosemary (abt 6”) 6 or 7 years ago in a sunny spot against a wall. It is now 5 feet tall and wide; and I can harvest fresh year round!
Can you also store cilantro like that ?
I do not know?
I live in Oregon where we, as you know, are under the ash fall out from the fires. Do you know if we can still harvest and use our basil?
Do you have to store it in the fridge?
Do you think I could put the jar in my root cellar instead of the refrigerator he temp in there is 53 Fahrenheit or 12 Celsius
This sounds great… my only question though is does using this basil make your food salty??
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Can you add more to it once in fridge l? I don’t have near enough for a full jar but will in weeks to come. My plant is a decent size but not huge.
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This is awesome!
I made this recipe once already this year, and my little half pint jar didn’t even last a month! Our grown kids were home and discovered it in the fridge and they ate the whole jar on toasted baguettes! So now I’m bringing in the second to the last crop, and will have enough to make at least a quart jar! If I still have fresh basil after Thanksgiving, will see what I have left if I make more or freeze it!
What a great idea!