Olive Oil Preserved Basil

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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.

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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.

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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!

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