Too Much Fresh Basil? Try Mr.CBB’s Basil Garlic Cubes

Mr.CBB's Fresh Basil Garlic Cubes

Are you faced with too much basil in your garden? Last year when we planted fresh basil we struggled to get enough to even make a few tomato salads. We use basil in just about anything we cook that we can jazz up the flavour like pasta, salads, dips, meat and potatoes etc.

Basil in oil is a wonderful thing and if you haven’t tried it you are missing out on some incredible flavours.I don’t know many people who don’t fancy basil but you can get all sorts of different types of basil such as lemon-basil and chocolate-basil as well.

You can easily grow a garden in a small space including herbs all you need are small pots to get your seeds going and before you know it you will have more basil than you know what to do with. It’s not as lucrative of a herb as mint is that grows like a weed but with some love and care this plant will grow in abundance for you depending on where you live of course.

Pairing basil and garlic together with some extra virgin olive oil is like a match made in heaven. If you enjoy the freshest ingredients on your dinner plate it doesn’t get any fresher than this. Another idea we had with our fresh basil was to make basil oil.

We simply drop in fresh basil leaves into a good quality cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil and let the flavours marry. Can basil be frozen? Good Question but it comes out wet and wasn’t the best for us. Since freezing basil on it’s own didn’t turn out for us so well we needed a plan b and the basil garlic cubes were born.

Planting Basil

This year we purchased 4 packages of Italian Basil from the Dollar Store at 2/$1.00 for a decent amount of seeds. You can’t go wrong at that price so we made sure we got enough to spread all over our 2 large planters.

Once planted we watered them daily and kept them outside on the deck where they received the direct sun for 80% of the day. In the evening we would give them each a can of water and made sure they were well moist. In just over 2 months the basil has grown so much we are in awe. I honestly don’t think we expected to see as much basil as we have in comparison to last years crop.

Since we don’t like to waste food we wanted to come up with ideas to use up this basil especially since it’s fairly pricey to buy fresh at the grocery store. If you want to buy a small handful of fresh basil in the shop it costs around $1.99. There is no way we were letting this go to the compost heap.

In the end we will dry what is left and crunch it up to put in our spice jars. We have a variety of spices in labelled mason jars in our cupboard and use spices in almost every dish we cook.

 

Garlic and Basil

Since purchasing a Kitchen-aid food processor (love it) earlier this year we were thrilled to see what we could whip up. We decided to see if we could purée our basil with garlic and freeze it to use over the Canadian winter in our recipes. We decided to try our idea out and it worked perfectly. It’s essentially a frozen basil pesto but one you can use all year-long created from herbs from your garden.

We made a few trays but realized we could do it another way that wasn’t so tedious. We decided to fill muffin tins with our custom basil garlic or garlic basil, whatever you want to call it, we call it yum.

We especially like it on top of some fresh homemade kalamata olive bread, olive pita bread or dip our garlic onion potato balls in the dressing before we freeze it. Once you pop the mixture from the muffin tin buy running a butter knife around you can easily freeze them as disks. We then store them in Ziploc freezer bags for the winter.

We can now enjoy the taste of fresh basil or garlic greens all year-long. This is such an easy process and if you have  a food processor and love your fresh herbs go ahead and blend them up.

Mr.CBB’s Fresh Basil Cubes

Time: 5 minutes

Tools

  • Bowl
  • Spatula
  • Food Processor
  • Muffin tin
Ingredients
  • 8 cups of fresh basil
  • 6 cloves of organic garlic or 2 cups of fresh garlic greens (which we used grown organic courtesy of my father in law)
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cooking spray

What is Pesto Basil?

It’s essentially a mix of herbs, olive oil, garlic, nuts and cheese in our house but sometimes we like to keep it simple and omit the nuts and cheese like we have here today with this basil garlic dressing but you can turn it into a pesto very easily.

**Note** You can also add Pine nuts, Walnuts or Almonds along with Parmigiano-Reggiano if you want to make this a pesto.

How To Make Basil Garlic Cubes
  • Put all ingredients in the food processor and whiz it around until it comes together. If you need to add more olive oil do so from the top until it comes together like an oatmeal consistency.
  • Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and spoon fill the tin with the mixture. Cover it with plastic wrap and put it into the freezer.
  • Once solid run a plastic knife around the edges and pop the basil disk out.

There you have it, a fresh basil disk ready to go into the freezer for future use. I don’t know how long these will last in the freezer as this is the first year I’ve made them.

Update 2013: We’ve used these all year long and have had no problems with them so far. I’m expecting they will last for a while but in our house we use so much of it that it will be gone before we know it.

What to make with basil pesto?

Here is what we made for dinner but you can easily add these cubes to make your favourite salad dressing to get the freshest flavours available to you especially when prices rise over the winter months in the grocery stores.

We love to eat a fresh basil and garlic pasta so this recipe below will knock your socks off if basil is one of your favourite herbs.

Mr.CBB’s Basil Garlic Pesto with Baby Shrimp and Mushrooms

  • Boil 1 500g package of Pasta al dente
  • Add 1.5 cups of Basil Pesto (make as above in processor but add 1 cup of Almonds, 1/2 cup fresh Italian Parsley and 1/2 cup of Parmigiano- Reggiano *Note you may need to add a bit more extra virgin olive oil as it purées.
  • In  a separate frying pan sauté mushrooms and baby shrimp with the tails off in a tablespoon of olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper
  • When the pasta is done reserve 1 cup of pasta water
  • Add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • Add the pesto to the past and stir adding in pasta water a little at a time to help it all come together.  *Note- you may not need all the water
  • Top with your favourite cheese and enjoy!

Taste= AMAZING and the colour is so green and vibrant from the basil, parsley and garlic. You can smell the freshness of the ingredients. A must try and super easy to make and won’t hurt the budget.

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Mr. CBB
I’m from the UK and now a recent permanent resident in Canada. I bought my first house at the age of 21 after University then my second at the age of 24. I’ve always been fascinated with personal finance, savings, learning to make money and watch it grow while combating debts along the way. Canadian Budget Binder is a place where I get to share my experiences with personal finance and learn about yours along the way. I hope you stick around and check me out on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest where I am active on all social media sites. Cheers, Mr.CBB
Mr. CBB
Mr. CBB

Comments

  1. ok I am doing this….my basil isn t looking as good as yours.

    • Ha, to be honest ours just went kaboom! It works out great and I’ve used the cubes in my minestrone that I made last week and the flavour was out of this world! Let me know how you make out. Mr.CBB

  2. Mary F Campbell says:

    What a great idea! I will definitely use this when I do my garden next year. Last night’s dinner had me drooling, it sounded so good!

  3. LittleFrugalista says:

    This is brilliant! Thank you for the idea. I don’t have a ton of basil but a massive overgrowth of dill. Any idea what I should do with that? :)

    • I reckon you could do the same, clean it and toss it in the processor with some olive oil and salt,and whiz it up. Then put it in the muffin tin and freeze. The best way is to try like we did but I imagine it would work no problem. It’s super handy, just to pop them into a pot or frying pan! Let me know how you make out. Mr.CBB

  4. I need to buy a processor so I can have homemade pesto–I love it but I know that I can make it a lot cheaper and in bulk if I have the processor.

  5. feelingrichbeingpoor says:

    Great Idea! My solution last year required too much room in the freezer.

  6. Nice idea with the freezing, although if you’re not sick of pasta sauce yet, this sauce (http://35aweek.com/2012/04/26/bacon-and-tomato-cream-sauce-for-pasta-2-70/) is great with tons of fresh basil leaves in it. You could also make a lemon-basil sugar that keeps for a while: just grind a small handful of leaves in a food processor with 1/2 cup sugar and about a teaspoon of lemon zest—it’s great on desserts, and with berries and/or yogurt. And, of course, nothing beats a light lunch or appetizer of sliced fresh tomato, some basil, some mozzarella, and a drizzle of olive oil!

    • Oh, I love the sugar idea, I’m going to try that out tomorrow. I love plain yogurt and that would go perfect on top. We eat lots of pasta so we use tonnes of basil in it. I have a tomato,chick pea, fennel with fresh basil salad that we eat often. Our crop of tomatoes will be huge this year so that will be a daily eat. Cheers for the recipe I’ll go give it a look now. Mr.CBB

  7. very impressive! you can’t go wrong with too much basil. we just found out there is a wild basil growing just about everywhere around us, and replanted them in the garden. The taste is good and it is used to the weird tropical weather (too much rain, too much sun) whereas the basil we brought from the capital city, a colder climate, is having a hard time rooting. I hope I have so much I can freeze, at the moment I go out every time we make pizza or pasta to pick up a little bit.

  8. This is an excellent idea. I was wondering what we’d do with excess basil if we did grow it b/c I know we won’t probably use it fast enough. And I’m glad you told us where you got the seeds from. Dollar Store!! Who knew! We love cilantro b/c basil is so hard to find here, expensive, and it keeps for such a short time but if we grew it ourselves, it would always be fresh & inexpensive. I don’t know if I love the smell or the taste of the herbs more. Do you have any good tips for storing fresh basil once its been cut?? I know it doesn’t do well in the fridge but then again it doesn’t do well on the counter in a bag either. Maybe outside of a bag but where??? Thanks again Mr. CBB!

    • Hi,
      If I have excess basil I just lay it all out to dry then crunch it up and put in a jar as a dry herb. You could also tie it all together and hang it to dry. We’ve ordered seeds on Ebay before so that’s another option if you struggle to find them at Dollarama or your local dollar store. I’ll be making mint cubes this year as well just so we have flavours for our meals all winter long. It’s super easy but I find the muffin tins less messy than ice cube trays.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Too Much Fresh Basil? Try Mr.CBB’s Basil Garlic Cubes […]

  2. […] Too Much Fresh Basil? Try Mr.CBB’s Basil Garlic Cubes […]

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  4. […] Too Much Basil? Try Mr.CBB’s Garlic Basil Cubes (canadianbudgetbinder.com) […]

  5. […] Too Much Fresh Basil? Try Mr.CBB’s Basil Garlic Cubes (canadianbudgetbinder.com) […]

  6. […] Too Much Fresh Basil? Try Mr.CBB's Basil Garlic Cubes CBB Alexa Toolbar Twitter- Come Follow My Tweets! […]

  7. […] are an avid gardener you can easily grow spices and dry them for off-season use. If you end up with too much basil for example you can process it and freeze it in a cupcake pan or ice cube trays then put them in […]

  8. […] fresh garlic in this simple hummus recipe for roasted garlic. Sometimes I even like to toss in some fresh basil from my garden to kick it up a notch in the flavour […]

  9. […] I smothered in a creamy mushroom butter sauce. Typical sauces for gnocchi include tomato sauce, basil-pesto, butter or a cream sauce. The outcome for this recipe is rich tasting and is perfect on a […]

  10. […] Too Much Basil? Try Mr.CBB’s Garlic Basil Cubes (canadianbudgetbinder.com) […]

  11. […] organic peppers, yellow onion and those basil cubes that I made earlier on this summer when I had too much basil and needed to do something with it. Tonight we are having a fresh pot of pasta sauce and pasta for […]

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  13. […] Too Much Basil? Try Mr.CBB’s Garlic Basil Cubes (canadianbudgetbinder.com) […]

  14. […] Fresh basil cube (**if you don’t have this, 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil or 1/4 cup dry […]

  15. […] the top to combine and to make a  pesto paste (taste to see if you need more salt or not)-We use Basil cubes that we make in the summer and freeze to use over the winter […]

  16. […] nicely.  I do know we will grow plenty of basil, even more than last year so we can make more basil cubes but also basil pesto as we use it for so many meals, besides it adds amazing flavour to just about […]

  17. […] Peppers, Fennel (Anise or Finocchio) and Petunias for the hanging baskets. There will also be Basil, Swiss Chard and Mixed Salad planted a little later in tubs. This will add to what is already out […]

  18. […] also tossed in some herbs from the garden, fresh basil and […]

  19. […] to get my basil going shortly as well because we are hopping for a bigger crop this year to make basil pesto. I’m hoping to get out there REAL soon so I can get the garden going. It looks pretty mucky […]

  20. […] example, there are a lot of insects that like to attack tomato plants. Planting some herbs such as basil and oregano, that have a strong scent can help to cover up the smell of the tomato plant, basically […]

  21. […] Fresh Bunch of Basil chopped or 2 homemade basil cubes […]

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  23. […] is coming around now so hopefully we can get a  huge crop like we did last year so we can make basil cubes again.  Other than that our Swiss Chard is doing well as is the chives and mixed lettuce. The […]

  24. […] to grow herbs all summer long. Each summer I grow lots of basil and near the end of season I make fresh basil garlic cubes.  In the winter I just toss in a couple of these cubes to the sauce and presto, you have a lovely, […]

  25. […] basil is going crazy as well and we couldn’t be happier. Last year we made basil garlic cubes in our muffin tins and we plan to do the same this year. We also plan to make mint cubes since the […]

  26. […] what can I say except it’s out of this world awesome and we can’t wait to make our basil cubes. Just look at the photo above just one week since I took the previous photo and the plant has gone […]

  27. […] our garden has doubled in size again so it’s time to start making basil cubes because having too much basil is never a problem for […]

  28. […] have to compromise on eating good food. If you recall last year I did a post about how I created my basil garlic cubes by freezing the purée in muffin tins and I’ll do that again this year. It’s a great way […]

  29. […] 2 with basil. I’ll likely process all the parsley to use over the winter to mix it in with my basil cubes for a bit of pizazz or to make a […]

  30. […] added some garlic, salt and my homemade basil pesto to the food processor and I only did that to make the crust of this cauliflower pizza taste like it […]

  31. […] seeds at the dollar store this past week. As soon as I saw the display I loaded up on 8 packets of basil because last year I struggled to find any and had to pay some ridiculous amount of money for […]

  32. […] this year which has only proven to give us minimal basil. Time will tell but we really want to make basil cubes again this year as we use them throughout the winter months in soups, stews and […]

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