Frozen Herb Balls

Yep, I went there. Surprised? Let’s face it; no one wants to cook in this heat. Currently it’s 94° and you could literally fry and egg on the blacktop.  Anything frozen in 94° heat sounds good to me. {While battling strep this week I’ve easily put away a dozen popsicles in the last 2 days. Don’t judge.}


This time of year, you have to keep a close eye on prolific herbs like basil, cilantro, and parsley or they may just bolt before you get to their delicious greens. Rare Earth loves basil, they love basil more than anyone I know. I easily receive 4-5 pounds of basil throughout the CSA season, and I’m the last one to complain! This week’s pound of basil almost got away from me, but I was able to save it just in the nick of time by making frozen basil balls! Freezing herbs in olive oil and salt is a superb means of preserving the fresh herb flavor for use all year around. Toss those herbed balls into pasta, When the temperature drops to 25° and you’re wearing wool socks, you’ll thank me for this one.


2 cups basil, stems removed (parsley and cilantro also work well for this recipe)
2-3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1tsp Salt
2-3 cloves of garlic

Remove the basil from the stems. Cram the basil leaves into a food processor, and add the evoo. Add salt and garlic and pulse* until a paste forms. Using a cookie dough scoop, portion herb paste onto parchment paper on top of a sheet tray, leaving an inch or so in between scoops. Pop the sheet tray into the freezer for an hour or 2, until frozen, then place frozen basil balls into a zip lock. It’s helpful to label the bag with a date and which herbed balls are inside. You can use the basil balls in infinite recipes all year ‘round. My favorite – tossing an herb ball into a fresh baked bowl of spaghetti squash. The possibilities are endless.


Vocab Lesson!


*Bolting – Bolting is when an herb (or plant) goes to seed after the fruit or vegetable has ripened. With basil plants, a large thick cluster of leaves forms, with small buds in the center. This often changes the taste of the herb or vegetable to an undesirable flavor. By trimming back the herb, the plant is forced to send up new shoots or stems, keeping the plant full and healthy, and the basil a’comin.

{This is what a broccoli plant looks like when it goes to seed}

*Pulse – To pulse a food processor is to push the power button on and off in rapid successions. This causes the contents of the food processor to settle briefly before being mixed again, to create a more even mixture. Using the count of “One-one-thousand” is a good standard count when pulsing.