Dan the Man and I have a lot of basil in our kitchen garden. We love its fresh flavor and aroma. I usually whip up a bunch of pesto each summer, freezing it in zip-lock bags for use all year long. Last year, I made traditional pesto with pine nuts (expensive!), pesto with pistachios (not cheap but cheaper than pine nuts), and pesto using basil and mint. Yum!This summer, my basil is flourishing, but I still have some of last year’s pesto in my freezer. What to do? Once again, Pinterest provided the answer. Using the easy directions from http://www.redheadcandecorate.com, I first cut the basil, stripped off the leaves, and washed the leaves in cool water.
A salad spinner was a lifesaver as I dried the leaves. I didn’t have the patience to get them completely dry, but I got off the bulk of the water.
Now all I needed were clean jars, kosher salt, and lots and lots of olive oil. I began by sprinkling a little salt into each jar, partially stuffing it with some clean basil leaves, and then pouring some olive oil on top. I continued this pattern — salt sprinkle, basil, olive oil — and pushed the basil down with a spoon so I could fit in more. When the basil was close to the top, I poured olive oil to cover.
I closed each lid tightly and put the jars in the refrigerator. They’re supposed to keep in the fridge over a year. When ready to use some basil, I’ll just scoop out a spoonful into a small bowl. Since the olive oil will harden in the fridge, I will let the bowlful come to room temp. I can then dump the whole bowlful into whatever I’m cooking. Alternatively, I can chop it in the oil or rinse the oil off and then chop. Though the basil will darken, the flavor will remain fresh. I can’t wait to try this product through the dreary winter months. And I’ve got some extra jars for my BFFs!