Earlier this week we had a light frost which meant it was time to collect the basil leaves! Without any real hope of the basil leaves surviving the sub 32 degree temperatures I gathered as much as I could. I brought the leaves inside and made pesto. The 6 cups of loosely packed basil I gathered ended up making only 3 1/2 cups of pesto, but when a 1/2 cup of pesto is enough for a family of four to use for a meal it suddenly seems like much more!
I separated the basil into 1/2 cup portions and put all that wasn't going to be used this week into the freezer to use at a later date. I typically only store basil over the winter as a pesto but I do save and root basil cuttings to sustain us through the winter.
After the first frost I noticed that the Italian leaf basil did not hold up as well as the purple varieties ('Dark Opal' and 'Purple Ruffles') or as well as the 'Spicy Globe' basil. That might be worth noting if you have to prioritize your basil harvest due to time (Harvest the Italian basil first!)
How do you store your basil over the winter?
P.S. Our gnocchi and four cheese ravioli with pesto meal was delicious!