Thai basil is native to southeast Asia. The leaves are shinier and greener than the Mediterranean basil. It has a slightly spicier taste and has an anise flavor. It is used in Thai red and green curries as well as Asian soups (see also Freezing Lemongrass). It can also be used in oil for cooking and vinegar for dressings.
You can mix it with nuts to create an alternative pesto. However, what do you do if you grow it and have too much to use before it deteriorates? The answer is simple. Freeze it and then you can have it throughout the off-season when it doesn’t grow. In this article, we will tell you about the different ways of freezing Thai basil and how to defrost it.
How To Freeze Thai Basil
There are three different ways of freezing Thai basil. Firstly, you can freeze it in freezer bags without blanching. Then you can freeze it in freezer bags with blanching. Finally, you can freeze it in ice cube trays.
Freezing Without Blanching
1. Wash and dry your Thai basil.
Put your Thai basil in a colander and rinse under a cold tap. Don’t use the hot tap as you don’t want to cook the Thai basil. When you have done this, put the basil on a paper towel and then pat it dry. Transfer the leaves onto another paper towel and leave for a few minutes until they are completely dry. You don’t want to put damp Thai basil in the freezer as this can cause ice crystals to form and this will make the basil go soggy when defrosted.
2. Put the Thai basil on a baking tray.
Line the baking tray with greaseproof paper and place the Thai basil leaves on the tray. Make sure that they are not touching so that they don’t stick together when you bag them up. Then you will be able to take out just as many leaves as you need and not waste any. Freeze the Thai basil for about 12 hours.
3. Transfer the Thai basil into freezer bags.
Once the Thai basil leaves are frozen, take them out of the freezer and put them into a freezer bag. Make sure that you squeeze out all the air from the bag otherwise freezer burn may occur. The Thai basil will still be safe to use but it might lose taste and texture. Put a label on the bag with the date you put it in the freezer and what it is. If you freeze a lot of herbs this is very useful as you might not be able to tell what is in the bag.
4. Put the freezer bag in the freezer.
How To Freeze Basil By Blanching
1. Wash and dry the Thai basil.
Rinse the Thai basil leaves under a cold tap and then pat them dry with a paper towel until you have removed the extra water. Leave them to dry completely on another sheet of paper towel.
2. Prepare the water.
You will need to bring a pot of water to the boil, and also prepare a bowl of water with water and ice cubes.
3. Blanch the Thai basil.
Put the Thai basil in a colander and dip this in the boiling water for five seconds only. Then transfer the colander to the ice-cold water immediately to stop the cooking process. When the leaves have cooled down, pat them dry.
4. Flash freeze.
Put the Thai basil leaves on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Make sure that the leaves don’t touch each other so that they won’t stick together when they are bagged up. Freeze for 12 hours.
5. Transfer the Thai basil leaves to a freezer bag.
Make sure that you squeeze out the air from the freezer bag so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. Put a label on the bag with the date frozen and what the herb is.
The advantage of blanching is that the leaves have less chance of turning brown. It is worth the extra work.
How To Freeze Thai Basil In An Ice Cube Tray
One of the best ways to freeze Thai basil is to freeze it in an ice cube tray. Then all you have to do is throw as many ice cubes as you need into the dish. You can even freeze other herbs with the Thai basil. Herbs that go well with Thai basil are coriander and lemongrass. This is the way to freeze Thai basil in an ice cube tray.
1. Wash and dry the Thai basil.
Put the Thai basil leaves in a colander and run this under the cold tap. Then put them on a paper towel and pat them dry with another paper towel.
2. Put the Thai basil in the slots of an ice cube tray.
Add other herbs if you wish. Top up with olive oil, water, or melted butter. Don’t fill the slots right up to the top as the liquid will expand when frozen. Put the ice cube tray in the freezer.
3. Bag up.
Take the ice cube tray out of the freezer and put the ice cubes in a freezer bag. Make sure that you squeeze out as much air as possible otherwise freezer burn may occur.
4. Put the freezer bag in the freezer.
Tips For Freezing Thai Basil
- Make sure that you dry your Thai basil completely. If you don’t and you put the leaves in the freezer damp, ice crystals can form and when you come to defrost them, they can end up soggy. If you blanch the basil, use a spin dryer.
- Flash freeze the Thai basil to stop the leaves from sticking together.
- Squeeze out all the air from the freezer bag so that freezer burn doesn’t occur.
- Try growing your own Thai basil. You can grow a lot of it and then freeze it for use whenever you want.
For How Long Can You Freeze Thai Basil?
You can freeze Thai basil for around six months. This is handy because you can enjoy it when it is out of season. Thai basil doesn’t grow well in the winter.
How Do You Defrost Thai Basil?
The best way to defrost Thai basil is to take out the number of leaves you need and to defrost them in the fridge for a few hours. However, if you have frozen it in the slots of an ice cube tray, you can just throw the cube into the dish. You will probably be making a curry, soup, or stew and the ice cube will melt in no time. It is a great time saver especially if you freeze all the herbs you need for the dish in the ice cubes.
Can You Refreeze Thai Basil?
Yes, you can, but the more times you freeze, defrost and refreeze, the taste and texture will deteriorate. It’s better to just defrost the amount of basil that you need.
Is It a Good Idea To Freeze Thai Basil?
Yes, it is a good idea to freeze Thai basil. It freezes very well. Sometimes the leaves can turn brown if you keep the basil in the freezer for too long. However, you can stop this from happening by blanching the leaves.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing Thai basil but in case you want to know more about Thai basil, we have answered a few questions here.
Can you freeze Thai basil pesto?
You can freeze Thai basil pesto in an ice cube tray. Freeze the pesto in the slots and then, put the ice cubes in a freezer bag, and then take out as many cubes as you need for the dish. Put a thin layer of olive oil on top of the pesto but don’t fill it right up to the top as it will expand.
What are the best herbs to freeze with Thai basil?
If you are making a Thai dish, chili, ginger, lemongrass, and coriander are good choices.
Apart from Thai green and red curry, what else can I use Thai basil in?
It can be used to infuse oil for cooking or vinegar for salad dressings. You can add it to noodle or shrimp soup. Thai basil chicken wings are delicious as is stir-fried beef and chili.