Widely used in Mediterranean cuisine, basil adds a fresh, slightly lemony flavour to your summer dishes. Whether you're a fan of traditional pesto or prefer it in tomato salad, it's almost always perfect for enhancing delicious garden vegetables. If you've followed our tips for growing basil, you're probably the owner of some of the prettiest plants on the block! But there's one question on your mind: what am I going to do with all this harvest? What am I going to do with all this harvest? Luckily, Permapotes has the best tips for you.
Traditional methods of preservation
Basil is known to be rich in magnesium, so it would be a shame if the method of preservation chosen were to affect its nutritional quality. But don't worry! Contrary to what you might think, even when it is dehydrated, its minerals remain stable. Another advantage is that the shelf life of the food can be extended by up to six months if you store it in an airtight, moisture-proof container. So don't hesitate to use it!
This technique is quite simple to do. However, it is a bit time consuming (it takes a week on average). Here is how to do it:
- Wash and dry the herbs with a cloth.
- Make small bunches that you then tie with a kitchen string.
- Hang them upside down in a place with little light. Make sure that the air in the room is sufficiently dry and ventilated.
If you are in a hurry, this is the process for you! Heat drying offers the same advantages as natural dehydration. The only difference is the speed of the process. To carry out the process, follow these steps:
- Preheat the oven to 60°C.
- Wash and dry the herbs with a cloth.
- Keep only the leaves, and place them on a baking sheet covered with baking paper.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Leave the basil in the oven turned off for 2 hours.
- Then keep it in an airtight box.
This is the best method of preservation to protect against micro-organisms of all kinds! Thanks to this method, you always have your precious herbs at your disposal. To do this, you just need to clean your basil well, and detach the leaves. You can choose to chop them or freeze them directly. Personally, I am not a fan of this process, because the food loses some of its organoleptic quality. It's a shame for an aromatic herb!
Less conventional methods
Make your own flavoured salt
If you are looking for a useful homemade gift, I highly recommend this little handiwork that you can easily do with the kids! Here is the recipe:
- Mix 25g of whole fresh basil with 235g of fleur de sel.
- Pour the mixture onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
- Place it in a dark, cool place for 24 hours (the oven is perfect when it is turned off).
- Once the humidity has disappeared, all you have to do is put your salt in pretty airtight jars that you can decorate.
Flavoured oil in individual doses
Do you like to use flavoured oil to enhance your dishes? Instead of buying it in the supermarket, make it yourself! After washing and removing the leaves from your basil, arrange it in ice cube trays. Add some olive oil and put it in the freezer.
Incorporate your herbs directly into preparations
Finally, if you are brave, you can of course make preparations based on basil and then store them in jars. If the idea of making a dozen jars of pesto puts you off, try to imagine enjoying this delicious sauce during the harsh winter months!
Some tips for growing your herbs successfully
To begin with, choose the right neighbourhood! In permaculture, we use variety combinations to facilitate the growth of crops and avoid the occurrence of disease. This practice also works very well with herbs. In order to design the layout of your garden, you can use our planning tool. Here are the happiest combinations:
- Basil likes tomatoes, the squash family, cabbage, fennel and asparagus.
- Thyme works well with onions, beans and lettuce.
- Chives live well with apple trees, peach trees, strawberry trees, currants and squash.
Obviously, we advise you to respect this calendar, which takes into account the seasonality of the plant, in order to give it the best chance of success! One last piece of advice: don't hesitate to cut off the flowers that develop, in order to prevent the plant from going to seed. This tip has the added advantage of strengthening the herbs.