Basil fermentation allows to preserve its essential oils, while releasing unique lacto-fermentations flavors. It's also a great way to always have fresh basil on hand.
Here, the recipe is made from whole basil leaves, but it is also possible to ferment it as a paste.
Like with other fermented vegetables, it is recommended to have good lids that will not rust and a weight or counterweight system to keep the basil leaves immersed.
- Glass jars (Mason jar type, or other)
- Hermetic lids
- Glass Weight or counterweight
- Small kitchen scale (optional)
- Basil in whole leaves
- 2% of basil salt weight (without iodine or anti-caking agent)
You also need salt and the only rule is that the only ingredient is "salt". No Iodine (it harms the fermentation) and no anti-caking (it can harm the taste). Just salt. Now, it is up to your taste to choose the type of salt. It does not really make any difference to the fermentation process.
You will see that the kitchen scale is very practical because the amount of salt is chosen according to the total weight of basil and the best way to know it is to weigh it. Also, this recipe is in metric system because it is so much easier to work with this system when we made calculations of percentage.
For example, if you have 500 g of basil, you will need to add 10 grams of salt (a teaspoonful) to reach 2%. No problem however, if you do not have scale because you can go with a little approximation: 1 teaspoon of salt = about 10 g.
- Mix basil with salt and massage lightly. A brown juice will come out immediately and the leaves will shrink in size. It's normal.
- Place the leaves in your glass container and squeeze out the bubbles. Try to get as much out as you can, but it does not matter if there are some left.
- Cover with a weight or counterweight to keep the basil under the brine. You can add a little water if too much basil is in contact with the air.
- Place in a tray and ferment at room temperature for one to two weeks.
- You can ferment longer if you want a more acidic flavor. Otherwise, put in the fridge.
- Keep one year (or more)
How to use your lactofermented basil
Fermented basil is used in the same way as fresh basil. You can add it when serving or in the preparation of salads, sauces, pasta, grilled cheese...
To fully enjoy the flavors and benefits, it is best to add when the dish has been removed from its source heat. You can also make a pesto by adding what's missing to the basil paste.