About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Friday, May 25, 2007
Basil Preserved in Oil
I've a short little entry to this weeks Weekend Herb Blogging being hosted by the lovely Ellie from Kitchen Wench.

Noodling through TimeLife's The Good Cook Preserving edition, I came across a short, not so much a recipe but technique, for preserving basil leaves. Now I know at least one or two people who absolutely adore this wonderful herb and Kalyn is one of them. She has a clever method for freezing basil, but this particular treatment gives you the flexibility of not having to defrost your frozen bounty if you only want one or two leaves.

I'm yet to try this method, but I have found that most things from this wonderful cooking series do work well. They suggest that basil preserved this way may be used wherever you would use salt and oil, as well as basil. That might be a cooked dish like a soup or it could be in a salad.

Basil Preserved in Oil
From Tina Cecchini - Les Conserves De Fruits Et Legumes

125 g (4 oz) basil leaves, stemmed, washed, spread to dry on a towel
12.5 cl (4 fl oz) olive oil
30 g ( 1 oz) salt

In a clean jar, place a layer of basil leaves and sprinkle with some of the salt. Continue to layer the leaves and sprinkle the salt until everything is used up and the jar is three-quarters full. Fill the jar with the oil, seal tightly and store in a dark cupboard. The basil will be ready to use after a month.

Edited to add: Isn't the Internet a wonderful place? A reader (thank you) has just let me know of an article by The Herb Society of America, where they in fact do not recommend you use this particular preserving method for the long term keeping of basil, due to the risk of botulism. They say you can store basil this way, in the fridge, for a maximum of two weeks. Two weeks for me means that this method is not really viable as there isn't much point to it, but the article did go on to say that preserving basil leaves in salt alone worked quite well and lasts up until the next season. Simply layer clean, dry basil leaves into a clean jar with plenty of salt between the layers, that's it.

I will leave this entry up as a window into our recent past practices, which unknowingly could have possibly made one very sick or very dead. You just can't be too clean or careful when preserving food.

Labels:

 
  posted at 7:56 am
  9 comments



9 Comments:
At 11:28 am, Blogger Kalyn said...

Most interesting. This is just how you make preserved lemons (so I hear, I've been too lazy to make them so far.) So I guess this would be preserved basil. What could be better?

 
At 3:10 pm, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Certainly I need to learn more about how to preserve! Much more complicated than I thought. I'm always looking for ways to do things like this.

 
At 7:12 pm, Anonymous Ellie said...

How interesting! I'm wondering about how well they would preserve in salt, and whether the resulting basil would carry any of the saltiness?

 
At 3:04 pm, Blogger Squishy said...

Very Interesting. Thank you.

 
At 11:29 am, Anonymous Paz said...

Oh! I like the idea of this!

Paz

 
At 3:49 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi kalyn, It looks like preserved lemons would be a better bet!

Hi tanna, thanks for your help on this. It looks like we have to look a lot more carefully!

Hi ellie, my thought is the leaves wouldn't absorb much salt, but that said if you used them in recipes needing salt, it shoudn't be a problem.

Hi squishy, it did look interesting to me as well. It seems high acid foods preserve quite well this way, but there is some danger in low acid foods.

Hi paz, didn't it just seem so neat.

 
At 11:18 pm, Anonymous John Mundell said...

Hi Neil, I have just read your WHB entry, and I was just about to comment on how I prepare my basil in oil, when I looked closely at the details on botulism. I was shocked to see that it can be found in such readily easy prepared products. I will be paying extra attention to this in the future. Many thanks for pointing this out.

 
At 9:26 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi john, I was shocked myself when it was pointed out to me, so I know how you feel. One cannot be too careful about preserving food for later consumption.

 
At 9:51 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

can you make a "pesto" using just oil and freeze it? Thanks

 

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