Freezing self-grown basil herbs (basil) in ice cube trays for winter use
This year the summer was over in Switzerland rather early, I remembered when I first arrived Basel three years ago, also in mid-Sept, it was not this cold. I felt the warm weather just disappeared all of a sudden without any signs or saying goodbye to us, the daytime temperature dropped from 25°C to 15ºC sharply one day to another. I am missing the warm weather, I don’t want to put on winter clothes yet.
Last week, I have harvested and preserved the basil leaves from our garden so to enjoy them in the winter. My neighbour, Philly gave us two different species of basil that I had not come across in the supermarket: small leaves basil (Fig. 1) and purple leaves basil (Fig. 2).
I have searched in the internet, there are so many different ways of preserving herbs that I did not know which method is the best, so I could only use my best guess. In the end, I have chosen the ice cube method (see below for details) for the small leaves basil as I do not need to chop them into smaller pieces, this seemed to be the most convenient and cleanest method.
As for the purple leaves basil, I divided the leaves in batches and wrapped them in cling film and then I used kitchen paper as separator between each batch so they will not stick together. Lastly I put them in a zip-lock bag and placed in the freezer for winter use.
Freezing Basil using Ice-cube method:
- Harvest the basil leaves, pick the healthy ones (Fig. 3).
- Wash, pick the leaves off the stalk and then use the salad spinner to spin out most of the water (Fig. 4 & 5).
- Pat dry with kitchen towels (Fig. 6).
- Stuff the herbs in ice cube trays.
- Fill the tray with water. Using your finger push the leaves down into the water as much as possible as they tend to float. Place the ice cube tray in the freezer (Fig. 7).
- Once the ice cubes are frozen, remove them from the tray and transfer to zip-lock bags.
- These cubes are now ready for use, simply add the whole ice cube into your dish during cooking.