Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How to Preserve fresh Genovese Basil

I have never tried companion planting before. I grew my own Genovese basil transplants this year and so had quite a few and decided to plant them next to tomato plants, as I had heard that is a good combination. It must be. I've never had such glorious basil before! The basil is on the left next to the tomato plant.

I went out this afternoon and cut a basketful of the fresh basil.

Then I removed the leaves from the stems, washed them well and gave them a few spins in the salad spinner.

Next I chopped them in the food processor and put them into a quart jar.

Finally, I covered them with apple cider vinegar and put a lid on the jar.

If my house was cooler, I'd just let it sit in a cupboard, but the house gets pretty hot this time of year, so I will store it in the refrigerator. When I want basil for cooking (pesto, spaghetti sauce, pizza, soup, roast, chicken.. etc.) I can just retrieve what I need and it will be like having fresh basil all year!


  1. Thanks for sharing this way of keeping basil. I have only dried mine before. Will be giving this a try this year. When you take what you need out of the jar do you have to put it in a fine strainer to rinse off the vinegar or just use as is?

  2. Thank you for posting this, Yolanda. I have a basil plant outside my backdoor, but I never know what to do with it except cut off leaves for homemade veggie soup and adding to tomato sauce. I do have a bottle of Bragg's apple cider vinegar and quart jars so I will try this. And the ACV is used for what purpose? And when you say you covered the chopped up basil you mean as in all the way to the top of the jar? Thank you for your blog. You are a true inspiration!

  3. I'm wondering, does it make the basil bitter, like the vinegar? I've got a bunch of basil, both planted on purpose and volunteers from last year's garden. I mostly grow it because the bees love the flowers, but I would like to preserve the harvest year round for cooking.

  4. Cheryl, whether or not to rinse would be determined by what I am using it for. I will drain it, at least, in most cases, and press down on it with a spoon in the fine strainer, as you mentioned. But the apple cider vinegar, in small amounts would not really do much to affect the taste of most dishes. I hope that helps!

    Sarah, thank you. :) The ACV is to preserve the basil. Otherwise it would just decompose before long. With the ACV and in the fridge, it will keep for quite a long time. I can't say just how long, though! It might be nice to make up little batches in smaller jars. The vinegar only needs to be enough to cover the chopped basil. If you don't have enough to fill your jar, there is no need to fill the jar with the ACV. The Bragg's is very nice and very healthy. I am sure, though, that any 5% vinegar would work. Good luck with yours!

    By the way, one thing I've done in the past is to chop the basil, cram it into ice cube trays, freeze them, and then pop the lumps out into a freezer bag to be used for whatever later. That worked very nicely.

  5. Motherhen68, I guess to me the vinegar only tastes tangy... like vinegar, not bitter, but of course you can rinse the basil to remove any extra. Every one's taste buds are different, so you might experiment with a small amount and see how it works out for you!

  6. I have successfully done this today. Thanks for the post because here in the intense Arizona heat, pretty much everything gets scorched in the sun over the summertime. So today was as good as any day to snip my basil plant and follow your instructions. Your pictures REALLY help out, Yolanda. This helps for more, shall I say 'inept' homemakers such as myself! lol

  7. LOL !! I hope it works out for you. Glad to be able to help!

  8. I will have to try that is my basil does anything this year. I planted mine next to my tomato plants too but my tomatoes grew so much faster than the basil that where I have them they don't get much light now. I did put some more where I had to pull out lettuce that had gone bitter from the heat so we will see what happens with that.

  9. Can you do this with other herbs besides basil?


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