|I need to know the best way to store fresh basil and also if I should dry it also.|
|You can dry it or freeze it, but freezing retains the fresh taste better. Before you start, wash basil in cold water and dry; a salad spinner works well for this step. To freeze your basil, pull leaves from stems. Then, in a food processor, with knife blade attached, puree 2 cups packed leaves with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Drop the mixture by teaspoonfuls onto the paper; freeze one hour or until firm. Transfer the dollops (you should have about 16) to a self-sealing, freezer-safe plastic bag and store for up to two months. To use in a recipe, stir in a frozen dollop when you're almost finished cooking the soup, chicken or beef stew, or spaghetti sauce.
You can also freeze leaves whole and keep them for up to a year. First, blanch leaves for two seconds in boiling water, then drain and rinse immediately with cold water. Pat leaves dry and store in a large, freezer-safe container, separating each layer with plastic wrap. Use in cooking as you would fresh basil leaves, but, cup for cup, frozen leaves are more compact than fresh ones, so use a little less than the recipe calls for.
To dry the basil leaves simply lay them out flat on a papertowel and allow them to dry thoroughly. Then crumble and keep in jars or plastic baggies.
Enjoy your basil!