How to freeze and preserve basil in olive oil

preserving basil -

There is nothing quite like fresh basil.  Each year, I grow enough to cover Rhode Island.  To help preserve that fresh from the garden taste, I preserve the basil by freezing it in olive oil and packing it into ice cube trays.


  • Pick your basil leaves and submerge them in a large bowl filled with cold water.  Swish them around vigorously to remove any dirt.
  • Give them a quick whirl in a salad spinner or spread onto a kitchen towel and blot dry.
  • Pack the leaves in a food processor; while the food processor is going add 2-3 Tbsp of olive oil through the food tube.  Or you can finely chop the basil by hand, transfer to a bowl and add the olive oil.
  • Process until you have the consistency you like.  I process mine to a medium fine paste.
  • Transfer the basil into ice cube trays, firmly packing each ice cube compartment 3/4 full.
  • Fill the remaining space with olive oil.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 24 hours.
  • When the cubes are firmly frozen, you can transfer them into a freezer bag for easy storage. Work quickly because the cubes will begin to melt from the heat of your hands.


  • DO NOT re-use the trays for ice cubes.  You will have basil flavored ice (unless that’s what you’re going for).
  • Soak the food processor container and blade in warm water with baking soda to remove any basil flavor.

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