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How to Grow and Preserve Fresh Basil

4 Materials
2 Months

Basil is such a pretty plant and the leaves taste delicious. We start our plants from seed and can keep a plant or two growing here for about half of the year.

Basil is easy to grow, it loves the sun but doesn't like the cold. We grow ours on our porch where they are more sheltered than out in the garden.

We really like Basil fresh for cooking or adding to salads. Since we can't keep plants growing all year here, we came up with another way to store Basil.

how to grow and preserve fresh basil

These are some Basil seedlings that are ready to be put into much larger containers.

But even at this point, a leaf pinched off a few of the plants will be great for using fresh in the kitchen.

Just take one leaf, no more from each plant. Later, once the Basil plants are larger, you can harvest several leaves from each plant.

As the plant gets larger, pinch the center stem. This will stop it from growing taller.

how to grow and preserve fresh basil

A harvest of freshly picked and washed Basil. There are a few ways to preserve these leaves. Some gardeners dry them at this stage.

how to grow and preserve fresh basil

The leaves can be air dried - just put them in a shallow container and stir them around once a day. Let the air get to them.

This isn't my favorite way to preserve Basil, because Basil is one herb that just doesn't taste as good once it has been dried. This method works, though.

Here's what we do.

how to grow and preserve fresh basil

Just place the leaves in ice cube trays. Then add water to each cell, making sure the leaves are covered.

Pop them in the freezer; one completely frozen, you can transfer them to large Ziploc bags.

Whenever you want fresh Basil, just pop however many cubes you want to use. It's a great way to enjoy fresh homegrown Basil even in the middle of winter.

I also use Basil when I am making our homemade Tomato Sauce. If I make a huge batch of sauce, I water bath can it so I can safely store jars of sauce in our pantry.

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Honey
    on Apr 16, 2019

    I’m having a problem with some critter chewing up my basil leaves! What should I put on them? I don’t see whatever it is.

    • Sharon
      on May 10, 2019

      Everything here is eaten by grasshoppers. Leaves and stems,basil or marigolds, they eat it all. I've tried the hot pepper stuff and they just say " Nice and spicy. Yum! " I've heard about a natural product called NoLo that is enzymatic, but the factory burned down and is not back up and running yet. Just my luck. I've tried the organic stuff, but it has little effect unless you can spray it right on the critters. Netting has not been helpful because I have no place to set it that it gets enough sun and is up off the ground. I will try again this year because I love pesto.

  • Nao
    on Jun 9, 2019

    My basil plant leaves are small and never get to be as big as the ones pictured here. Is mine a different type of basil or should I be doing something to coax them to get larger?

Join the conversation

3 of 9 comments
  • Susan
    on May 2, 2019

    Thank you for the tutorial. I really love basil but new it was a difficult plant to take care of because of the cold and the English weather. However, I now have the resources to follow your very detailed instructions.

  • Honey
    on May 10, 2019

    Thanks so much! I think I found one of the critters! It was a snail! Now somethings picking on my dahlia leaves! I’ll find it too!

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