Nothing like the heady fragrance and taste of summer like fresh basil. Basil is one of those herbs that absolutely will not keep it’s flavor if dried, and the best way to preserve it is in olive oil. Purchase basil from a good grower at your farmers market, if you live in a cold climate, or you can grow it by the bushel full in a hot climate. I used to grow about 15 different varieties of basil, each one special to my heart, and now I am blessed with a great farmer friend. When growing basil, you cannot be shy about giving it a STRONG cutting back, as often as needed when it gets too tall and before it blooms too much. Cut the stems all the way back to the top of the lowest set of leaves. I know it seems drastic, and the plants are so pretty. In a mild climate, you can leave some to go to seed, and you will have many volunteers next spring.
This is two pounds of a several varieties of basil I bought at the farmers market.
Thanks and Giving wanted to see what treat I was bringing them.
They were a bit insulted when I told them that this basil reminded me of sage stuffing.
Wash and dry the basil and put it into your food processor. Use the pulse button and pulse until finely chopped. You can add some olive oil at this point, or really at any point you prefer, and keep processing until you have a basil paste, with just basil and olive oil.
Transfer all batches to a bowl so you can mix well, add more olive oil and sea salt.
Spoon basil mixture into small mason jars, filling to within a 1/2 inch or so from the top. Bang the filled jars on a towel, to get all of the air bubbles out so it packs well. I filled up 8 jars, of 8 oz. each, plus a small one with two pounds of basil.
Make sure you add a layer of olive oil on the top of each jar, then store in the freezer for a taste of summer all year round. Use to make pesto, tomato soup topping, basil hummus, pizza topping, bruschetta, egg dishes, or a wonderful spread for a sandwich. When you are ready to use a jar, thaw it out, pour or scrape off the olive oil layer, use some basil and then put an olive oil layer back on before putting it into the refrigerator to continue to use.