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Freezing Fresh Basil ~ Whole Leaf

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(Updated post)

My garden is overflowing with fresh basil. I love freezing the excess so we can enjoy our homegrown herbs in the cold months too. It’s easy to do. Today I am sharing 1 way to preserve your fresh basil in your freezer.

For this method you’ll need:
fresh basil leaves
pot of boiling water
bowl of ice water
cookie sheet(s)
paper towel/towels
slotted spoon
storage containe
Basil is a beautiful plant and it smells wonderful.

Remove all the leaves from the plant stems and rinse them clean with cold water.

Prepare a bowl of ice water.

Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove top, Carefully add the basil leaves. Blanch for 5 – 10 seconds.

Remove the leaves with a slotted spoon  and plunge them into the ice water to chill quickly to stop the cooking action.

Now this is the tedious part. Separate the leaves and lay flat on a cloth or paper towel and pat dry.

Lay them out on a cookie sheet(s). I used two pans. Put the cookie sheet(s) in the freezer to flash freeze the basil leaves.

When they are frozen remove the leaves and put them into a bag or container. You can keep them in the freezer for several months. They separate easily so you can use them in your recipes.

Now you can have your own basil to season your sauces all winter.  A real money saver. 🙂

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39 thoughts on “Freezing Fresh Basil ~ Whole Leaf”

  1. Chaya says:

    Thanks for these instructions. My basil is beautiful and I would enjoy it, in the winter and now I can do just that.

  2. Catherine says:

    Dear Diane, This is a wonderful idea. This way you can enjoy the basil all winter. Your basil looks so healthy and beautiful; I bet the kitchen smelled wonderful. Blessings dear. Catherine

  3. suzy supnet says:

    Perfect timing. My basil plant is doing great and I need to do something with it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Marie says:

    I dry basil every year, but I’ve never tried freezing it. Looks great! Visiting from Wow Us Wednesday link up.

  5. Patty Lucas says:

    I planted herbs for the first time this year. The only way I was told to freeze them was in ice cube trays with either water or olive oil. I like your way much better. Thanks.

  6. QMM says:

    Will be freezing mine too. I have just been drying but I think this will be better. More like fresh. Thanks

  7. Katie @I stay home for this says:

    Thanks for the lesson. I am planning on putting in basil next year and this will be so useful. 🙂

  8. Angel says:

    This is great instruction.
    Thanks for sharing with us at our Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop.
    Angel @

    Also new Bloglovin follower

  9. Lois Christensen says:

    What a great tip! Thank you for linking up with Foodie Friends Friday! I’ll be sharing this on my Walking on Sunshine FB Page later today.

  10. Stephanie says:

    Awesome! Your basil looks great.
    Can I use my Foodsaver or does it need to be frozen loose?

    1. Diane says:

      I think using your Foodsaver would be great!

  11. debra @ homespun says:

    I have never done this before but I am growing basil this year so thank you for the tip! 🙂

  12. T.Dashfield says:

    Thanks for the tip as I’ve had a bumper crop of basil from my garden and have made more pesto than I will ever use! LOL Hi from #SitsSharefest

  13. sparkling74 says:

    An old Italian lady once told me to snip off the stems nice and long, rinse and dry them and then roll them in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze. Then I could just unroll it, snip what I wanted, roll it back up and have more for later! These look much more usable though. What are the leaves like when they thaw?

  14. Katherines Corner says:

    I’m pinning this our basil plant is huge!!! Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things hop xo

  15. Miz Helen says:

    This is a great tutorial for preserving the wonderful Basil that we have in the summer months. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great week.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  16. Judy Haughton-James says:

    Your basil is certainly doing well Diane. I have never had basil, I must give it a try. Thanks for sharing on Creative Monday.

  17. Betsy @ Romance on a Dime says:

    Great tutorial!! Thanks for sharing at Romance on a dime!

  18. Wanda says:

    Thanks for the great information! I have lots of basil!

  19. Parrish (Life With The Crust Cut Off) says:

    This looks awesome!!! We would love it if you would link up at our linky party:
    Live every Wednesday to Sunday.
    Hosted by: Parrish @ Life with the Crust Cut Off Dana @ This Silly Girl’s Life
    We hope to see you there!

  20. Terri Henkels says:

    I am so glad I saw your instructions. This is my first year growing herbs and I have been learning how to preserve them but I have so much basil and I have been looking for a good technique. Trying this tomorrow!

  21. lisa@ Cooking with Curls says:

    I had no idea that you could do that Diane! Thank you so much for joining us and sharing at Best of the Weekend! Pinning to our party board. Have a great week and please join us next Friday.

  22. Vicki @ Grams Made It says:

    I would love to just sit down in the middle of your basil and smell it for a long time. I have it growing in a couple of pots on my front walk, but we use it as fast as it grows.

  23. Mary@Back to the Basics! says:

    Great idea for preserving basil. I’ve been giving a lot away lately!
    Thank you so much for sharing at Tuesdays with a Twist. Come on over and share what you’ve been working on.

  24. Gale Haverly says:

    Can you just pick it and put it in a freezer bag and wash it after it is thawed???


    1. Diane says:

      I wash it before I freeze it. It would be to delicate after freezing to wash it. But I guess you could try it and see how it works. Thanks for stopping by Gale 🙂

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  33. Lori says:

    Is it necessary to blanch or can you just wash, dry and freeze?

  34. chan says:

    I found that blanching whole stem with leaves intact gives better control of the process, and much easier to separate the leaves for drying.

  35. sheila says:

    could you blanch and freeze on stems then pull off to put in freezer bags? ALso your instructions with pictures say to blanch later you said you didn’t which is best ? Is the basi still bright green when you defrost it? sorry for sso many questios I just have a bumper crop this year

    1. Diane says:

      Hi Sheila, Congratulations on your bumper crop of basil! I did blanch mine first. I remove the stems before I freeze mine, but you don’t have to. It’s not the bright green color after it’s been frozen and defrosted sorry to say. I use it in cooking so it really doesn’t matter because it would darker as it cooks anyway. Hope that helps.

      1. Linda says:

        In your reply above in June 2014, to Lori, you said you did not blanch, now you say you did. This is confusing. Blanch or no blanch?

        1. Diane says:

          Not sure what you mean, I do blanch the basil for several seconds. BLANCH YES! 🙂

  36. Liz says:

    I’m sure this sounds lame but why do you have to blanch them?

    1. Diane says:

      No, it doesn’t sound lame at all Liz. Blanching almost stops the action of enzymes that naturally occur to help the basil grow. If not blanched, the enzymes continue to do their job, which results in color and flavor loss. So rule of thumb, blanch before freezing!:)

  37. Linda C says:

    I have not frozen these items or basil but here is my easy way for herbs & mints.
    This is so easy you will love it too. I trim off the tops of my herbs & mints that I have growing in pots. This is like 2″ to 4″. Mints really spread, so pots are best for them. Plus during cold weather you can bring them inside. Then carefully take off the bottom half of the leaves. I place them on a tray covered with paper towels. I have different areas named with the different flavors. I let them dry on there. In acouple days they are dried & can be put into a spice or whatever container you wish. If they are not completely dried, let them set another day. If they are not dried out, they could turn moldy. I use old pill bottles or canister cheese bottles are perfect as they have the holes on the lid. You can leave them whole and when I add them to food or drinks, I smash them up in my hands by rubbing my hands together or between my fingers. Brings out the scents. If I bought too much cilantro or parsley & I don’t want it to go bad; I will dry them the same way. Why waste them when you can keep them for another day. Putting them in the fridge is another way to make them last longer. Don’t let them get to the back where you can forget about them or they get too cold. Then again, if you think they are getting kinda ugly looking, dry them the same way. Or dry them the other ways listed on this site. My way just happens to be faster and easier.
    Then with the other part of the herb or mint, which is the stem with the top leaves. Put them in marked jars of water. Then place them in a sunny window. Keep the water level up towards the top of the leaves, so the roots don’t get dried up. Then once they have plenty of roots, in a wk or so, plant them in a pots. I have a couple long Dollar Tree planters in my kitchen windows. They also are sectioned off with markers, so I know what is growing where. I have done this the last few years and love doing it this way. Also love all the new plants I am starting.
    I grow & dry- Mints: Choc Mint, Sweet Mint (our favorite), Orange Mint, Peppermint, Spearmint. Herbs: Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary.
    NOTE: I can’t seem to root rosemary so I dry it or use it fresh.
    I hope you like the way I do it. Enjoy!

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