Harvesting and Preserving Basil

My friend Karen once had, what I now refer to, as the “mother-load” of Basil harvest. She handed me an armful bouquet of Basil… and she still had more to spare. I have yet to experience such a harvest again. So now, because Basil can be so persnickety in the garden, and because I love it so much, I rarely take Basil for granted. When it’s here, and it does grow, I use it or save it.

But how do you save Basil? You can always make batches of pesto, leaving out the cheese, and freeze portions… that works well…but what if you just want to preserve the Basil leaves?

Freezing makes it slimy… and can’t even imagine blanching it. Drying Basil strips the herb of its flavor, stripping away the oils. Then, I found this…

You can preserve it in oil — but only if you follow this safe method to prevent botulism.

susiej basilUntitled-1

preserving basil in salt.

To preserve Basil in salt, simply layer sea salt in a jar, and add basil leaves. Keep the salt jars in the freezer and use the basil within six months based on experience, indefinitely!  This is great for preserving the individual leaves and keeping them intact.  They will darken, but still be fresh, years later.

Then, you can kick it up a notch and do this: How to Make Basil Salt>>>


Basil salt is for cooking and recipes — and makes a nice addition to winter soups — the freshness of summer plopped into your wintry tomato bisque soup.

Please read this to learn how to preserve basil in oil and prevent botulism! This is vitally important as you cannot taste or smell botulism!

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34 comments to “Harvesting and Preserving Basil”
  1. This is RIGHT on time! A friend gave me a freshly picked bushel of basil today and I was wondering how to preserve it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  2. I am also wondering if you can use any other salt. I just did a small jar with sea salt but do not have enough to do more. Thanks!

  3. Oh this is welcome advice. I just started to plant herbs (Sage, basil, rosemary, thyme) and would throw out the unused remains from the garden since I had so much left over.

    I will use this method, now that I found out how to save these herbs.

    Thank you so much


  4. I learned recently of another way to preserve herbs: Take an ice tray and place several leaves in each hole. Then add olive oil to almost cover the leaves. Freeze overnight and transfer to a plastic bag. This way, you get the fresh herb & the olive oil you’ll probably need in your recipe. Remember to write the herb’s name if you’re freezing different types.

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  6. amazing!! must try this…im tired of buying those tiny pathetic looking bunches at the supermarket but as you say freezing my own doesnt work.Thanks a bunch:)

  7. thanks – this is really helpful. i have a nearly indestructible basil plant, but can not eat all of the leaves it produces. I hate throwing them away! Thank you for this! (plus i HATE pesto, so that has not been an option 🙂 )

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  9. Your recipe says to use in 6mo. But then goes on to say it will last for yrs…?? Which is it? Plz don’t spam my email , a clear answer is all I need thanks in advance.

  10. Yes, when I originally found the recipe, that was the recommendation from the source. But I have now had my salt for five years, and it is still the same! I’m still using it. In fact, I put all of the salt and leaves in a coffee grinder, and made a shakeable green salt. So, thank you for pointing this out. I have updated the post to reflect this discovery.

  11. Doesn’t the basil absorb the salt? Hubby and I have to be careful with our salt intake. Thank you for your input! Have a blessed day!

  12. AWESOME!! That is what we will do with our Basil harvest this year! Now we will have fresh Basil year round instead of having to buy the dried at the store! We just gave it away as we didn’t know how to preserve it. Thank YOU Susiej!

  13. I can not find any instructions anywhere on the making of the basil salt. Am I missing something? I clicked on every link I could find regarding the making of basil salt.

  14. Here’s the link to the Basil Salt! I’m not sure why it’s not working — if you click on the picture of the Basil Salt in the post, and also the words, Basil Salt, it should take you right there? Is it not showing up? Let me know… thanks.

  15. I tried clicking on everything, the links that were active just loop back to the same place and never go to instructions. I tried again on my phone and also on my desk top PC.
    Thank you

  16. My goodness Paula! You are definitely right. Thank you for showing me there is some kind of glitch in my website — and being so patient while I figured this out. Things are now fixed, and I have recovered the post. I am pasting the recipe here — but you can now find it, I hope, here:

    With a just a few pulses of your coffee grinder, you can preserve your fresh basil in salt, and enjoy the fresh flavor all year long. Here’s the recipe for Basil Salt: 

    • Use equal parts salt and basil. So, one cup of packed fresh basil leaves to one cup salt — or 1/4 cup basil to 1/4 cup salt. 
    • Use sea salt, Pink Himalayan salt or Kosher Salt— any salt, except the kind with iodine. 
    • Preheat your oven to 200 degrees F. 
    • Pulse the salt and basil together in your food processor into the salt takes on the green color of the basil. (Enjoy the smell!) If you are doing a small batch, you can use a coffee grinder.
    • Now, you need to dry the salt out, now that it has absorbed the water from the basil. 
    • Spread the basil salt powder from your food processor onto a baking sheet.Bake for an hour.
    • Let cool, and store in a glass mason jar, or an empty, clean spice bottle.

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