Freezing Basil..

P1170878My husband returned from a visit to his sister with the biggest pot of Basil I’ve ever seen, bringing to 3 (count ’em) the number of pots of fresh Basil on my small window sill…it’s the one in the middle, by the way…

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



This is now much basil I had after I stripped that big plant.

  • 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.

This is what mine looked like when I was finished..

  • 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..!


I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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