How to Crush Basil

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Basil lends an aromatic flavor to any recipe, and it complements tomato-based dishes especially well. It is also a key ingredient in pesto, giving the sauce both its color and flavor. Fresh basil leaves have a stronger aroma and flavor than dried basil. Crushing a fresh basil leaf releases its scent and flavor. To preserve the most flavor, store whole leaves in the refrigerator and crush them as you need them when cooking.

Step 1

Rinse the basil leaves briefly under cool, running water. Pat them dry with a paper towel.

Step 2

Stack three or four basil leaves on top of each other and roll them into a cylinder. Slice the cylinder lengthwise down the center, then cut it cross-wise into a medium mince.

Step 3

Spread the minced basil out on a cutting board and cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap.

Step 4

Roll over the basil with a rolling pin, exerting medium pressure so the basil is crushed but not pulverized. Use the crushed basil immediately.