Preserving Basil

Here I am with lots of time on my hands but away from home. At least I have my laptop with me and can keep up with what others are up to in their kitchens. I do have some old photos on my computer I could make mention of.

Basil is one of my favorite herbs. There is plenty of it on hand in the summer months but I sure do miss it in winter. Every year I preserve a few whole basil leaves in kosher salt. They are not the same or as good as fresh but are a step above the dried herb. There is a significant change in appearance and texture. The leaves become dark in color and very limp, but retain a strong basil flavor. They seem to keep almost forever as long as they are refrigerated. I go about the process by putting a layer of coarse kosher salt in the bottom of a jar (any size jar is fine). Then I add a layer of fresh basil leaves (if you wash them make sure they are thoroughly dry). I add more salt on top of the leaves, then more leaves again and so on until the jar is full. The jar must then be stored in the refrigerator, possibly in the very back where they will be forgotten until such a time as fresh basil is not available. Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 10.52.46 AMScreen Shot 2015-08-10 at 10.56.54 AMScreen Shot 2015-08-10 at 10.58.06 AMScreen Shot 2015-08-10 at 10.59.01 AMScreen Shot 2015-08-10 at 10.59.49 AM

To use the preserved leaves they must be thoroughly rinsed to remove the salt. Even then they will be quite salty, so it is best to adjust salt in a recipe accordingly. Using basil in this way may not be to everyone’s taste, so I suggest starting with a smaller jar the first time to see how well you like it.

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