Super-concentrated basil oil is a great way to use up “long-in-the-tooth” basil. Drops of this oil are bright green emeralds on the plate —they’ll bring flavor for days!
When Good Herbs go Bad
With the most diligent of herb-storing methods (see here for our comprehensive post on How to Store Herbs), they will eventually give in to the inevitability of time. They’ll wilt, or begin to turn brown. As they turn, be a Hipcook and squeeze the remaining drops of deliciousness from them. You’ll be glad you did!
Step 1: Separate the Good from the Bad
De-stem the leaves, and discard any brown leaves.
Step 2: Cook ’em up!
Weird, I know, but this will really concentrate the flavor. Have boiling water ready, and a “plunge bath” nearby of water and ice.
Place the herbs in the cold water.
Cook for just a minute or so, until they are wilted. Stir to make sure each leaf is submerged.
Step 3: Into the Cold plunge they go!
Ice water will stop the cooking process quickly, and the herbs will remain bright green.
Step 3: Squeeze, and blend with olive oil
Once the basil is cool, use your hands to squeeze out all the water. Add the herbs to a blender oil: I use a cup of oil per handful of herbs. Once whizzed, pour into a jar fitted with a cheesecloth. I use a rubber band to secure mine. I fold the cheesecloth a few times on itself to strain all the solids.
Step 4: Filter
Tick-tock. Be patient. The drops of precious emerald basil oil fall slowly, but they’re mesmerizing. Set aside until all the oil has filtered. You’ll have a jewel of an oil. A little drop of this goes a long way. Store it in a glass jar, lidded. I keep mine in the fridge for maximum longevity but know that the oil will solidify that way. About 20 minutes of room temperature and it will become liquid once more. Because I like to be fancy, I store in a bottle with an eyedropper, so I can add the oil to soups and stews in a super pretty way.
Love basil oil? Try it with parsley! Or dill! Yum!