Monday, May 19, 2008

Basil Butter

I cook with herbs a lot and make basil or other herb butters. However, they don't last long refrigerated and freezing in little tubs isn't convenient because it has to defrost.
So, I came up with this method. I've been making basil butter this way for years now.
It is really convenient for all types of cooking on a variety of meats and veggies!

Here is how I make 2 pounds of basil butter:

10 cups of clean, dry basil leaves.
2 pounds of softened unsalted butter
food processor * optional but makes it go faster and has better consistency.
mid sized cookie dough scoop
several sheets of wax paper (about 24 that can fit into a gallon sized zip top bag when folded in half.)
large freezer zip top style bags
rolling pin

Sometimes I also add chives or garlic, etc. to the basil before mincing. It doesn't take long to mince by hand but when I make large batches, I ALWAYS use the food processor.

Harvest your basil, shake vigorously to get rid of hitch hikers.  Then dunk it in cool clean water. Clip or pull the leaves off and then dry them a bit.  I put mine through a salad spinner about 3 times and then blot it with paper towels.  The basil doesn't have to be bone dry but you don't want a lot of excess moisture.   

Once dry, mince your basil and add it to the butter and mix well.

If you have a food processor, simply process all the basil and butter together. Takes only a few minutes that way and you get a more consistent butter.  I usually put some basil in followed by 1 stick of butter until done.  If your processor is small, you may have to work in 2 batches. 
Take your waxed paper and using the dough scoop, place one scoop of the butter in the center of the waxed paper.

Fold the waxed paper in half over the butter and lightly press down.

Take your rolling pin and very lightly roll the butter to about 1/4 inch thickness. Stay away from the edges or it will squish out! If it doesn't roll out into a perfect shape, it will not matter at all.

It will look like this:

As you can see, not all my butter was incorporated but it won't matter. Using a food processor prevents this.  The photo below shows the difference using a food processor makes...see how much more uniform it is?  This is some butter I had made before and forgot to upload the photos!

Okay, so repeat with remaining waxed paper and basil butter mixture.
Then continue on scooping until you are done!  snip the edges of the paper if you need too and store in a freezer zip top bag.

Freeze up to a year. I've used it past that without issue.

When using this butter, leave it in the freezer until right before use.

It melts quickly so no defrosting is needed.

When frozen, the butter should easily peel away from the paper. See?

If the butter is too thin, it may crumble or stick to the paper so work slowly at first. It doesn't really matter if the butter breaks since it is going to be used right away but it is harder to handle.

The basil doesn't turn black so it still looks pretty.  I use this when grilling or baking, broiling, etc. It is good for all cuts of meat and fish.  We also use it on bread, just top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and garlic powder.


Lucy said...

That looks great! Good job on your tute! I can't wait till I have enough basil to do this.

Jennifer said...

this is a great idea and thanks for sharing. I just finished reading Gorgeously Green (awesome by the way!) and she mentions growing your own herbs. I use them quite often and it's on my to do list. I look forward to having fresh herbs right outside my back door and can't wait to try this basil butter. Sounds great!!

Anonymous said...

What a great idea. Love these simple but very useful ideas.
Great tutorial too. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! I just planted my basil today, and I was pondering what to do with it when it is ready to pick besides drying. I will try this for sure---I am few months, anyway!

A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

Fabulous idea. I use a lot of fresh herbs in my cooking and love to make garlic and herb bread. Never considered freezing it though - I will have to try your technique!

Irma's Rose Cottage said...

What a great idea, and to be able to freeze it.. Thanks for sharing your recipe and method of freezing.

Irma :)

susan said...

what do you use this on?? looks yummy

* elizabeth * said...

Genius! I love it. You're one smart cookie!

Beth said...

Oh my gosh, this looks absolutely delicious. Can't wait til the weather is warmer to start planting basil again. Thanks for sharing!

Shannon said...

What a great idea! I never thought to freeze butter with fresh herbs!

Sherry said...

Getting some butter on Friday and trying this!! Thanks for sharing!


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