Sunday, March 3, 2013

Summer gluts: preserving basil and tomatoes

(thanks Kelly)
Got more basil than you can use?
The bushes getting a little sad, or bursting into bloom?
Not quite ready to let go of that summer-in-Tuscany taste?

Here’s how to freeze basil:

  • Pick individual leaves, wash and pat dry
  • Toss them in a decent olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt
  • Bag them up into manageable portions in air-tight containers, such as zip-seal sandwich bags
  • Throw them in the freezer.

Mozzarella Cherry Tomatoes & light Basil Pesto
That’s it. They won’t go black, will still taste like actual basil, and are perfect for winter soups and pasta sauce. You’ll be able to break off a few or a chunk when they’re frozen. You can also freeze them in individual ice blocks in an ice tray, although this can take a little wrangling of bigger leaves.

You can also freeze pesto, though some people suggest freezing it before you add the cheese, and adding that when you’re ready to eat it.

Tomatoes, too, can be frozen whole or peeled – they may never again grace a salad, but they’ll always be on hand for cooking.

Here are some more time-consuming, but incredibly satisfying, ways to prepare and preserve your tomato crop:
Make and bottle passata
Make and bottle pasta sauce
Bottle whole tomatoes

What are your favourite ways to store summer goodies?