If you are a gardener growing basil, this time of year is when the plant begins to really fill out and provide you with a lot of aromatic abundance.
So what are some of the ways to use this garden delight?. Let's see... how can I count the ways?
How about 10 great ways to use up those beautiful basil leaves?
1. BASIL INFUSED OIL
This has so many uses- for your salad dressing, to make your pesto with, or to use
when when cooking. At Preserving Your Harvest, they take you through two easy methods to make your own.
2. INFUSED BASIL VINEGAR
If you are making an infused oil, why not also try making a companion vinegar? Red Fern Farm gives a great pictorial, taking you through the entire process..
3. SHARE THE WEALTH
Still have more basil coming in- give it away to family and friends ,Unlike zucchini, no one says no! Then they will come back asking for more.
4. WINTER FRESH LEAVES
Want to save some basil for the winter? Freeze the leaves- Here is a trick I learned a few years ago. Clean and dry the basil leaves, then place in a small jar with good quality olive oil, just enough to keep the leaves wet. Place in the freezer. When you pull out your basil in the dead of the winter, it will be fresh and green. If you just freeze your leaves they will retain their flavor but not their color.
5. STOP THE ITCH
Crush a few fresh basil leaves to use as a herbal rub and topical treatment for insect bites to reduce the itching and inflammation.
6. MAKE A HERBAL TINCTURE
Make a herbal tincture with basil leaves to help relieve nervous conditions and induce relaxation. Follow the steps at the Herbal Information Center to learn how to make a herbal tincture..
7. MAKE A HERBAL TEA
Make a herbal tea with fresh basil leaves and a few of the seeds. Basil is known as a herbal aid in digestive issues. Studies show that basil contain anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
8. RELAXING BATH
Need a relaxing bath? Fill the tub with warm water than add a large handful of fresh leaves to the tub. The fresh aroma will awaken you senses and make you feel refrshed.
9. BASIL SALT
At Birds & Bloom they show you how to make a basil flaovred salt, how wonderful it that!
10. BASIL PESTO
No list is complete without the addition of the yummy Basil Pesto. This is how I make mine. I don't measure, just create! In the food processor I put a bunch of cleaned and dried fresh basil leaves, the add a handful of pine nuts, a few pieces of peeled garlic and a good sprinkling of parmasean cheese. Give it a few good pulses to roughly chop everything up. Then using a good quality olive oil, begin to drizzle it into the food processor, a little at a time. Keep adding oil until you get it to the consistency you want..
Either use it right away or store some for the rest of the year. I lay out wax paper, then drop a large tablespoon full of pesto down, leave a space and repeat. When I have 3 tablespoons full I wrap it up and start another row. After using up all my pesto, I then wrap the wax paper in plastic wrap and put it into a baggie for the freezer. Don't forget to date and label it. Then later in the year when you want fresh pesto for whatever you are cooking up, just take out the amount you need.