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Monday, July 1, 2013

Freezing Basil in Ice Cube Trays

Basil adds such a bright, fresh flavor to so many foods, it's always sad when the basil plants start to flower, and then die off as the summer draws to a close.  But fear not, there is a simple way to freeze those sweet basil leaves, and it's as easy as making ice cubes.

Do you remember all of those basil plants I planted a few short months ago?  Well, they are full grown plants now and that means it's time for the first batch of cubes.

We pulled about 8 cups of basil leaves to make this first batch, which will yield a dozen or so cubes when we are finished.  Remove any of the larger stems from the leaves, but the smaller ones are fine to leave on.

Using a food processor, pack the bowl full of basil leaves and drizzle with a few teaspoons of olive oil.  No specific measurement here, just enough oil to moisten the mixture.  Pulse the mixture until the basil is coarsely chopped, then scrape down the sides of the food processor, add more oil if needed, and pulse again.  The mixture does not need to be pureed, just a finally chopped blend.

Spoon the mixture into a plastic ice cube tray, pressing the mixture down slightly.  When you are finished, drizzle a small amount of olive oil onto each of the cubes, then cover the tray with plastic wrap. 

Freeze for one to two hours or until frozen solid, then pop the cubes out of the tray, place them in a plastic bag and freeze until needed.  These will keep in the freezer for at least 6 months, but I've almost always used them up faster than that! lol  The cubes can be added to spaghetti sauce, lasagna, or any dish that calls for basil.   Enjoy!!

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