Recipes for Preserving Basil


This page is dedicated for methods in preserving a lot of fresh basil. Many folks put pesto in ice cube trays, freeze, and once frozen they are placed in freezer bags until needed.  Defrost and add to pasta sauces (cream or wine),  or use as a sauce over fish, or use as a spread for Italian bread.  Below are a few recipes so choose the one you like.


Basil and GarlicVinegar

 Basil vinegar is a tasty vinegar for dressing a salad, and will also work well with boiled vegetables, grilled meats, and fish.

- 4 cups red wine vinegar, at least 5% acidity

- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed

- 4 cloves garlic, crushed

1)      Rinse and dry basil thoroughly. Combine the basil, crushed garlic, and vinegar in a large jar or nonreactive container.

2)      Cover the container and let stand for about 2 to 3 weeks, turning occasionally. Add fresh wine vinegar if necessary to keep herbs covered.
Strain the vinegar, discarding the garlic and herbs. Divide the vinegar between two sterile pint jars and cap with sterile lids. May be kept for about 3 to 4 months in a cool, dark place.





Basil Olive Oil (Contributed from Anne McLaughlin)

- 4 cups light olive oil

- 5 cups basil leaves

1.      Heat the olive oil gently til it reaches 104 degrees F.

2.      Lightly bruise the basil and put in the warm sterilized jar (s)* or bottle(s). Pour the warm oil into the jar completely covering the basil, then seal. The oil will be ready to use in 3 to 4 weeks.

3.      If you plan to keep the oil for longer than a few weeks, it is best to filter it. The basil tends to become slimy after 3-4 months in the oil and may mold. After filtering, rebottle the oil and seal.

*To sterilize a bottle or jar, place washed jar(s) or bottle(s) in a deep pot and cover completely with boiling water. Bring back to a boil and boil rapidly for 10 minutes. Also place lids, rubber seals and corks in boiling water for 2 minutes.

Remove the jar and place upside down on a paper towel briefly before filling with the oil.


This recipe comes from a book called Preserving by Oded Schwartz, published in 1996 by DK Publishing Co.





Greek Pesto or Greek Gremolata Sauce (Recipe 1)

Contributed by Ellen Chelmis who dedicates her weekends throughout the season in collecting food from our local farms for distribution to those in need.

- 1/2 cup kalamata or Alfonso olives, pitted

- 2-4 or more garlic cloves, peeled (optional)

- Zest of a lemon

- 1 c packed fresh basil leaves (may substitute  parsley or mix basil with parsley)

- Fresh Ground Pepper

In a food processor, place olives, lemon zest, garlic cloves and pepper, pulse till desired texture is achieved.  A little lemon juice and/or olive oil can be added for less pasty consistency.  Makes 1 cup.



Miso Pesto Sauce (Recipe 2)

- 2 cups Basil, fresh, stems removed

- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves

- 2 - 4 tablespoons white miso (or your favorite kind)

- 2 - 4 cloves fresh Garlic, minced or pressed

- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, cashews or almonds

- 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Very slowly trickle olive oil through top of the machine with motor running, until desired consistency is formed.  This may be smooth or chunky, according to your liking.  Serve with pasta, vegetables, pizza topping or stir into soup for a flavorful treat!




Basil Pesto Sauce (Recipe 3)

- 2 medium garlic cloves, or more to taste

- 4 cups basil leaves

- 4 tablespoons pine nuts (black walnuts or any other nut may be substituted

- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

- 1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese (romano or any other cheese may be substituted)


Mix all the above ingredients in a blender/food processor to a paste/spread Consistency.   Adjust ingredients to taste and to achieve the desired consistency for how you plan to use the sauce.  Use as a sauce for fresh cooked pasta, a  spread for sliced bread, a topping for pizza or any other creative way you can think of!





Basil Pesto Sauce (Recipe 4)

- 1 teaspoon Garlic, minced

- 1/2 cup Walnuts

- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

- 1/2 cup Olive oil

- 1 and 1/2 cup Basil, fresh, stems removed

- Salt to taste

Add the garlic, walnuts, cheese, and olive oil to a food processor bowl.  Pulse until a course paste begins to form. Add the basil and pulse until blended.  Check the seasonings.