The Q&A Archives: Preserving Basil

Question: What is the best way to preserve harvested basil leaves? Freezing? Drying? If drying, do you bake them at low temperature or air dry them?

Answer: Basil retains is flavor best when stored in a jar of oil or vinegar in the refrigerator, or made into pesto. You can freeze pesto, too, though it's best to leave the garlic out, since it gets bitter when frozen. To dry basil, spread the cleaned leaves on cookie sheets, and place in your oven, set on its lowest setting. Leave the oven door ajar to allow air circulation, and stir the leaves frequently to ensure even drying. Remove them when crispy, allow them to cool, and store them in airtight jars.

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