Any other ways to use / store a lot of basil left in my garden besides pesto?
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You can hang it upside down by the bunch and dry it. Then crumble up the leaves into clean dry jars.
I always grind up a bunch with a bit of water and freeze it in ice cube trays- it's not like fresh, but about as good as you'll do in winter. There are more traditional methods involving layering it with salt, covering it with olive oil, and I think one or two more- they tend to be a bit labor intensive, and don't work noticeably better that I've seen.
I make a lemon basil sorbet that uses a good amount of basil. Simply make your lemon sorbet mix and prior to freezing, throw it in a blender with a large handul of basil leaves, strain the mixture through a fine mesh then freeze as normal.
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I tried freezing it just as is..I found it did something weird to the taste. Hard to describe. It tasted and smelled murky to me. I whiz it up with just enough olive or avocado oil now and put it in a Ziploc type bag. I smoosh it until it's a thin, flat layer and then just break off pieces as I need it.
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Google "how to freeze basil" and you''ll find instructions for that and drying and othe methods to keep it year round.
June is a trusted source on General Cooking.
I chop it with just garlic and a bit of olive oil in the food processor and freeze it that way - usually in ice cube trays. It later gives me the freedom to use it in other ways than just pesto/pistou.
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I'm using the last of the basil on my bushes to make cold sauce: https://food52.com/recipes... It's called "cold sauce" because it is not cooked; you can warm it up later if you like. This recipe was featured in the Jennifer Steinhauer column a few years ago.
The sauce freezes really well, so I'm going to make a 2 or 3 quarts to use later this fall. (I saute sausage and zuccini slices, then toss the cooked spaghetti or other pasta with the cold sauce, which is at room temperature, in the skillet.) Instant dinner. So good! ;o)