Question Winter will be here soon in New York. I still have a lot of basil growing. Is there any way to preserve it for the winter without putting it in pots and bringing inside?
Answer If you want to grow basil inside I would start with a new plant instead of digging one from the garden. Basil can be easily started from seed or you could buy a plant if you can find one. If neither of these is an option you could try transplanting your basil into a pot although it won't likely live long.
To preserve the leaves for later use you can make pesto and freeze it, freeze the leaves only, or dry the leaves. I freeze basil leaves in containers and then just remove what I need for a recipe - without thawing. The leaves may turn black due to the cold but this should not change the flavor. I dry basil on my dehydrator trays but do not turn on my dehydrator. You can also lay the leaves out on towels or sheets. If humidity is too high for the leaves to dry within a couple days you may need to supply more heat with a dehydrator on a very low setting or using an oven on warm with the door slightly open. Heat is damaging to the essential oils so keep the temperatures warm but not hot. Be sure leaves are dry before storing.
I specialize in teaching others to grow their own food including herbs, organic gardening, vegetable growing, fruit growing, container plants, edible landscaping, and unusual edible plants.
Author of What About Herbs? - available for Kindle and Nook.
Organic Gardener for 20+ years.
Square Foot Gardener for 20+ years.
Owner of Garden Inspire.
Garden instructor, landscape consultant, landscape designer, garden coach, organic gardener, Square Foot Garden instructor, horticulturalist. I have consulted with hundreds of clients about their gardens and landscapes.
Publications Utah Boomers Magazine, The Essential Herbal Magazine, blogs
Education/Credentials Education in Ornamental Horticulture from Utah State University, Certified Square Foot Garden instructor by the Square Foot Garden Foundation, Self taught in organic gardening methods.