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2 methods for longer storage
- pick the leaves off the stems and lay them in more or less a single layer on layers of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel, roll up the towel around the leaves, and put the roll in a plastic bag. This method keeps the leaves hydrated but not wet or damp.
- quickly blanch the basil in boiling salt water for 15 seconds, drain it, and dunk it into ice water to cool it quickly (this sets the green color), and then whirl it in a blender with just a bit of olive oil. You can pour the purée in ice cubes trays, freeze them, and transfer the cubes to re-sealable plastic bags where they keep for up to a year.
Basil is a delicate herb that can be used whole, chopped, crushed into a paste or dried; though it loses much of its aromatic properties when dried. It is most commonly used raw in fresh applications or when finishing cooked preparations as heat alters the flavor and color of the herb. Add strands of Basil to chopped, stacked and bread salads. Serve chopped atop pizza, pasta, chicken and fish. Combine with pistachios, pine nuts and/or walnuts to make a creamy pesto sauce. The aromatic flavor of Basil pairs well with tomatoes, garlic, onion, corn, pear, mint, strawberry and cow’s milk cheeses. Basil will keep, dry and refrigerated, for up to a week but is best when used immediately.
Basil boasts a high level of vitamin K, only 2 table spoons of Basil fulfills 20% of the recommended daily intake. Basil also has a moderate amount of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant which converts to vitamin A when digested.