How to Freeze Basil in Ice Cube Trays?

Can You Freeze Ricotta Cheese? (YES...
Can You Freeze Ricotta Cheese? (YES! Here’s How)

Are you looking for advice on freezing basil for the winter using ice cube trays? I’ve got you covered, though! I will discuss the optimum time to harvest and chop your basil, the ice cube trays, and other topics. When you taste these great frozen herbs, you’ll be glad you took the time to make them all year.

If you like to use fresh herbs, you may want to freeze some of them in ice cube trays. You can make a pesto sauce with frozen basil leaves and transfer them to a larger container later. Once the basil has been frozen, you don’t need to defrost them by pulling apart the leaves. Throw the frozen basil leaves into a heated dish, and they will thaw on their own. You can even give away some of the extras to friends and family!

What is Basil?

Basil, a member of the mint family of herbs, is a crucial ingredient in Italian cooking but is also used in Thai, Indonesian, and Vietnamese food. It is well-known for being the critical component in classic pesto and is a unique seasoning in pasta sauces with tomato as the foundation.

An annual herb, basil, is most frequently green in color, tastes spicy, and has a pleasant, aromatic aroma. The primary portion of the basil plant used in cooking is the leaves, which are significant, a little fragile, smooth, and marked with several veins. It is a simple herb to grow at home and is frequently included in kitchen gardens.

How to Freeze Basil in Ice Cube Trays?

Collection of Fresh Herbs

Herbs can be harvested in a few different methods. It was as simple as dragging the post straight into our kitchen because I grew my basil this summer in a beautiful big terra cotta pot.

After that, you have two options: use pruning shears or pinch a few stems off with your fingers. For leaves and plants that are more delicate, use your fingers. Ensure that you securely pinch the leaf stem all the way through. I used kitchen scissors to remove the entire stem, not just a few solitary leaves.

Clean, Fresh Leaves from the Garden

It’s time to clean the herbs of any dirt, debris, or bugs that may have crept onto your food after separating the basil leaves from their stem.

I wash the herbs by placing them in a colander made of stainless steel. Mix the basil with your fingers as the herbs are being rinsed under cool water to cover all the leaves.

It’s time to dry the basil leaves a little after rinsing them. The basil was placed on a cloth that had been spread down. You can gently tap the excess water with another towel or let the basil air dry.

Chop Basil Leaves

The herb leaves can be chopped on a cutting board once they are mostly dry. They will easily fit in the ice cube trays if you cut them into thin ribbons.

Start by placing three or four basil leaves in a stack on top of each other. After that, roll the leaves tightly into a tube, which makes no difference in how you move. Maintaining a tight roll will make it easier to cut into ribbons.

Now start slicing the basil into thin ribbons with your knife.

Include Olive Oil

Next, add a few basil leaves to your ice cube pans and top with olive oil. You don’t have to use all of the oil in the ice cube; just enough to cover the basil.

When basil is used, the olive oil helps give it a deeper flavor and keeps it from becoming black when frozen. Water can be used in place of oil, but I prefer oil.

Freezing Fresh Basil Leaves in Ice Cube Trays

After adding the chopped basil and olive oil, you can safely cover each of your pans with a lid (if your trays have tops) and put them in the freezer.

The next day, I checked on mine; they were beautiful to look at and smell!

Your frozen basil herbs should be kept in the freezer for up to five months. And depending on when you freeze them, they should last until you need to start growing new ones in your garden again, and I finished mine in November.

Should Basil be Washed Before Freezing?

Yes, the ideal time to wash is right before freezing. This is your sole opportunity to clean the basil, significantly if you’re cutting it up or combining it into ice cubes.

The only thing to remember is appropriately dry the basil before freezing it. You don’t want to overwater the basil in your bag or the basil cubes. Additionally, if they’ve already been cleaned, you won’t have to worry about checking to see if they’ve been washed, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that everything in your freezer is prepared for use whenever you need it.

What is the Usage of Freezed Basil Cubes?

Basil will not have the same consistency when frozen as when used fresh. However, I feel that utilizing frozen basil in your cuisine is far tastier than using dry basil.

Using frozen basil, you can flavor soups, stews, sauces, and salad dressings. With mine, I can’t wait to start cooking!

Many dishes that call for fresh basil, such as Thai basil fried rice, may be made with frozen basil leaves. I enjoy using basil ice cubes infused with oil in meals like pesto.

Exactly How Long Basil Lasts in the Freezer?

The answer, in my opinion, depends on how long it takes for the food to become so freezer-burnt that the flavor is altered. But that’s just my general rule of thumb for everything.

Sincerity dictates that I use frozen basil in my pasta sauce up until the end of this year’s spring. Therefore, if I had frozen them in August last year, it would have been between 9 and 10 months.

What are the Different Foods that can be Made with Basil?

Basil should be rinsed under running water and dried off before using. Most frequently, the leaves are separated from the stem and torn, cut into chiffonade, or finely chopped.

Additionally, they can be added whole as a pizza topper or garnish. Small branches can be used in meals, but larger stems and stalks should be thrown away because they are sometimes bitter. However, removing the stems and thick veins is better when making the herb sauce because they contain substances that will render pesto brown and dark.

Fresh basil should be used at the end of cooking for the taste to be the strongest. Basil’s volatile oils will evaporate under intense heat. For the dried basil to soften and combine with the other components, it must be added to a dish at the beginning.

Basil is an excellent choice for infused oil flavoring. Additionally, basil flower oil and tea can be made from basil blossoms.

What are the Advantages of Basil Leaves?

Helps with Digestion

The DK Publishing book “Healing Foods” claims that basil helps promote healthy digestion. According to the book, “basil strengthens the digestive and nervous systems and might be a useful cure for headaches and insomnia.” The eugenol in the leaves ensures that there are no gastrointestinal inflammatory effects. Basil helps the body regulate its acid levels and returns it to its ideal pH.

Anti-inflammatory

Basil has potent anti-inflammatory qualities that may help treat various illnesses and conditions. Through their ability to block enzymes, concentrated essential oils like eugenol, citronellol, and linalool contribute to the reduction of inflammation. Due to basil’s anti-inflammatory characteristics, inflammatory bowel diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease risk may all be reduced. Basil can be consumed to relieve other symptoms such as fever, headache, sore throat, cold, cough, and flu.

Defends Against Free Radical Activity

The culinary herb has a variety of natural antioxidants, which can aid in defending human tissues against harm from free radicals, according to the book “Healing Foods.” Atoms with free radicals are unstable, taking electrons from other particles and building chains to become stable. The body experiences oxidative stress due to these free radical chains, which further harm cells.

Increased antioxidant consumption is necessary to minimize oxidative stress in the body. Orientin and vicenary, two significant water-soluble flavonoid antioxidants found in basil, are present. These potent antioxidants support the immune system, safeguard DNA and cellular structure, and postpone the signs of aging skin.

What is the Best Approach to Store Basil?

The best way to keep basil is to arrange the bunch in a glass or jar of water, similar to how you would arrange flowers.

4 Easy Ways to Keep Basil Fresh

Trim the ends of the bunch, place it in a glass, jar, or vase filled with water that can fit in the refrigerator, and wrap the basil leaves or the entire bunch in a plastic bag. Place everything in a fridge. Basil maintained in that manner will keep healthy and vibrant for up to a week.

Is it a little annoying? Sure. Not at all convenient? Good point. Occupies a lot of refrigerator space? Nobody could challenge that assertion. Does it also maintain basil’s freshness for the most extended amount of time? Of course, it does.

The Second-Best Approach

We’ve shown that the ideal approach isn’t always as workable as one might hope. Fortunately, there is a less perfect but still perfectly adequate option.

Basil can be kept in a plastic bag by rolling it up around the leaves; the second-best method of storing it after picking the leaves off the stems and arranging them on layers of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. The leaves are kept moisturized but not soggy or damp with this technique.

What can be the Typical Reasons for Basil Leaf Black Spots?

Spots on leaves are a typical indication of numerous underlying conditions; therefore, there is sadly no simple solution.

The four most likely causes of basil plant leave turning black are listed below:

Frost Exposure

Basil won’t be exposed to frost or cold temperatures because it is a herb native to hot, tropical, and subtropical settings.

In peaceful settings, basil grows well, but if it is planted outside too early in the year or if a cold front is predicted, your basil will be shocked by the cold, and some of its leaves will start to blacken.

Bacterial and fungal infections

Black or brown patches may develop on the leaves of your basil plants due to some disease infections that can be spread by insects or water splashing on the leaves.

The fungi Colletotrichum, Septoria, and Cercospora Leaf Spot can cause black or brown spots on the leaves of your basil plant.

The bacterial illness Pseudomonas Cichorii causes wet brown patches on the leaves and stem. Although the infection resembles mold, downy mildew is a parasitic parasite, not a fungus.

Pests

Basil is a favorite food of several insect species, including aphids, thrips, and spider mites. If an infestation isn’t addressed, the leaves may develop tiny black spots all over them, or the leaves being pierced and fed on will turn black and eventually drop off.

These pests spread from neighboring plants of the same or different species already being attacked and are more likely to attack plants already weak or vulnerable.

Conclusion

If you want to preserve the flavor and aroma of fresh basil, one method is to use ice cube trays. Fill an ice cube tray halfway with water, and fill the other half with basil leaves. Freeze the mixture for at least 12 hours, then transfer the cubes to zip-top freezer bags. Basil ice cubes can then be transferred to zip-top bags and added to recipes.