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TWT: Preserving Basil

helping each other be good stewards of all our resources: money, possessions, time, energy, and health

With frost creeping up on us, it is time to deal with our 15-foot triple row of basil.  We are preserving it in three different ways.

For the times when we only want a little bit of the herb, dried basil is perfect.  We have processed many dehydrators full.  We just put the clean leaves on the dehydrator trays and plug the machine in.  Then I pack the dried basil leaves in zip lock snack baggies without crumbling them and put them in a gallon ice cream pail with a tight-fitting lid.  When we use the dried leaves in the winter, we crumble them; storing the leaves whole seems to preserve the flavor better.

As an experiment, I made some hot, garlicky basil vinegar from Herbal Treasures.  The recipe is very simple:

  • fill a jar almost full of basil leaves,
  • add some hot peppers,
  • add a handful of peeled garlic cloves,
  • cover it all with hot vinegar, and
  • let it sit, sealed, for a few weeks to let the flavors blend.
  • after that, strain the vinegar and bottle it for use in salad dressings, marinades, and more.

At that point I plan to use the basil, garlic, and hot peppers to make a pungent pasta sauce, although the recipe implies that they can just be thrown out.

We also froze chopped basil with some oil and a tiny bit of vinegar.  We used the food processor to coarsely chop the leaves with the oil and vinegar, and then I put the mixture into zip lock snack baggies, ¼ cup at a time.  Then we packed these little baggies into a larger freezer bag. This way I can easily use the amount we need without wasting larger freezer bags for each ¼ cup portion.

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For more great ideas, visit Homemaker MondaysWorks for Me WednesdaysThrifty Thursday, the Ultimate Recipe Swap, Frugal Friday and Finer Things Friday.


  1. Canadagirl says:

    I really want to try the vinegar idea. *grin* I am trying to get away from using plastic when ever I can so I store my dried herbs in canning jars. And I saw at a blog once that they froze there basil oil blend in the really small jam jars. ( 1/4 c. size)

    Thanks for sharing your ideas. I learned something new today. *grin*

    Blessings and ((HUGS))

    1. Annie Kate says:

      That’s a great idea, to use canning jars for dried herbs! If I ever see the little ones at a garage sale, I’ll know what to buy them for.


      Annie Kate

  2. Jackie says:

    What a great idea! I love it! Thanks for sharing

    Jackie ~ http://itscrazycheap.blogspot.com/

  3. Betty says:

    Love the vinegar idea. Sounds yummy! We also dry a lot of our basil and keep it as whole as possible until using. I like the idea of storing the baggies in an old ice cream container. Great idea!! By the way, you can also make large quantities of pesto sauce and freeze it in small batches. Thanks for the interesting blog!

    1. Annie Kate says:

      That’s a great idea about the pesto sauce! We still have some basil left.

      Annie Kate

  4. I needed this post. That is one of my projects for this weekend. Picking and preserving what is left of my basil!

    1. Annie Kate says:

      I’m glad it worked for you. Have fun this weekend!

      Annie Kate

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