I was in danger of being over-run, and the thought of wasting one of my favourite herbs was, as Lady Catherine de Bourgh would say ‘ simply not to be borne’ ( I do like to get a bit of Austen in when I can 😉 ).
I decided that by taking some steps today and freezing the surplus, I could enjoy the fruits of my Saturday afternoon labour right through the winter…
This is a surprisingly easy procedure, and while the frozen stuff is not suitable as a garnish in the dark days of winter, it is perfect for adding to soups, stews and savoury scones or breads. And don’t forget the added bonus of that almighty superior, smug, saving-the-planet feeling that comes with not wasting (and here comes another quote – from my Mother this time) ‘Perfectly good food’.
Here’s my method – but a word of caution – because I know what freezers are like: don’t forget to use it!
- A food processor
- a salad spinner (not essential, but speeds things up)
- either small freezer-proof pots, a plastic ice-cube tray or a small freezer bag for storage
- Freshly picked Basil leaves, stalks discarded
- 2-3 tablespoons of Olive oil, depending on how much basil you have.
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- Rinse the leaves under cold water, and pick out any damaged ones.
- Dry the leaves immediately, using the salad spinner if you have it; or paper towels, or a clean, dry tea-towel if you haven’t.
- Loosely fill the bowl of the food processor (don’t pack it in tightly).
- Then blitz the basil leaves in pulses, whilst drizzling in the olive oil until they are all chopped but not mushy, and the oil has covered all the leaves.
- Add a squeeze of lemon juice; scrap down the sides of the processor, and pulse again one last time.
- Pack and freeze immediately.
- Transfer to your chosen storage option. Ice-cube trays are a good option – just remember as soon as they’re frozen to transfer them into a box or bag so that they don’t get freezer burn.
- Today, I used a small freezer bag, patted the mixture into a thin layer and froze it lying flat. When I do it this way, I can just snap a piece off when I want it (like peanut brittle!) and then reseal the bag for another day.
Go ahead – you have my permission to polish your halo..!