Monday, September 14, 2009

Preserving Basil

I don't know what it is about basil, but it is definitely my most favourite spice during the summer. It's rich peppery taste really enhances the taste of tomatoes, pastas, and many other favourite dishes.

Yesterday, while visiting my cousin Emily, we asked her father, my uncle Pete, to bring us a few leaves of basil and Italian parsley He is an avid gardener and at this time of year, his garden is brimming with the season's very best vegetables. Well, he brought more than a few leaves. I think he brought us a pound of each - enough to fill to overflowing a shopping bag.

Therefore, today I will have to preserve them.

Here's how my family does it.

First, we blanch the leaves for two seconds in boiling water, then drain and rinse them immediately with ice cold water. If you have a salad spinner, then spin the leaves dry. If not, simply pat the leaves dry with paper towel. Stack the leaves in bundles. Wrap them in paper towel. The bundles are the size of small hotdog and fits in the palm of your hand. Wrap each of thesee bundles in foil. Seal them in a ziplock freezer bag and they're good for a year.

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.

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