Did you end up with a huge supply of fresh basil this season? Here are 11 delicious ways to use up that bumper crop when you’re trying to figure out what to do with basil.
If there’s one herb I love, it’s basil. That sweet, slightly floral smell reminds me of summer and delicious food, and it just sucks me in every time!
Believe it or not, this herb is a part of the mint family. Its notable flavor is frequently used in Mediterranean dishes, and it contains many antioxidants and other nutrients. Lots of people use dried herbs in their dishes, but fresh basil will take any dish to an entirely new level.
If you’re growing basil in your container garden this year, you may be surprised at just how much you have to harvest before the weather turns! Now, while some people may see that as a problem, I see having “too much” of this herb as an opportunity!
Growing and Harvesting Basil
Before we get into how to use up an excess of this aromatic herb, let’s do a very quick overview of how to grow it so that you end up with a very prolific crop to use in many different ways.
The good news is that you don’t need a green thumb because it’s actually very easy to grow! It works well as part of either your indoor herb garden or in your outdoor container garden.
Basil grows best in a warm spot that gets at least 6 hours of direct sun each day with moist, well-draining soil and a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer application once every 1-2 weeks. That’s it. Easy, peasy, right?
To harvest, simply pull off a few leaves from different spots around the plant and use them in your cooking. If you want to harvest as much as possible at the end of the season, cut from the top of the plant and move down, cutting the stems. Then, simply pull the leaves off the stems and use them.
What To Do With Basil: 11 Delicious Ideas
I get it. Having so much of just one vegetable or herb can be overwhelming. However, when it comes to basil, there are so many things you can do with it that having too much is (almost) not possible!
Turn your concern into a world of possibilities for utilizing this versatile and delicious herb with these ideas.
Making pesto is at the top of the list for most people when it comes to using up basil because pesto requires a large number of fresh leaves. Plus, just like the herb, pesto is versatile and delicious!
If you end up with more pesto than you can use, you can always preserve it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.
Make Infused Olive Oil
This only takes a few minutes and will make any dish you create with the oil extra delicious! If you’ve never made infused oil before, try this easy recipe.
Alone the same idea of infusing oils, you can add herbs to condiments such as butter or mayo to spice them up.
To make basil butter, simply cut up fresh basil and mix it into ¼ cup of butter. Toss it into pasta or on steamed veggies for a delicious twist.
Making basil mayo is a very similar process. Chop up a handful of fresh basil and mix it into ¼ cup of mayo. Add a dash of fresh garlic, and you’ll have your new favorite condiment for sandwiches!
Add Basil To Your Salads
The herb’s flavor naturally pairs well with a huge variety of veggies, so adding a bit of chopped fresh basil leaves to your vegetable salads is a simple way to use up some extra supply while also elevating your salad.
Don’t even get me started on Caprese salads because the combination of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil leaves is my favorite!
Want something a little sweeter? Try tossing fresh leaves into your watermelon salad or pair it with other melons.
Have you ever tried adding basil leaves to your water? Or better yet, infuse your water with strawberries, basil, and a touch of lime. Refreshing! Plus, it’s a way to get some fruit, vitamins and add delicious flavor to bland water.
Throw Some Into Other Drinks
Basil tastes great in a huge variety of drinks. Love boozy drinks? Try adding some to your mojitos. Of course, if you’re making mojitos you’re going to want to grow some mint as well! For a family-friendly option, make a refreshing basil lemonade or a berry basil smoothie. Now that’s a delicious way to cool down on a hot summer day!
Basil On Pizza
Still wondering what to do with basil? Pizza will come to the rescue! Adding fresh leaves to pizza is probably my favorite way to enjoy this herb. It adds that perfect distinctive flavor that makes me say “Mmmmmm”.
Even if you’re gluten-free, you can enjoy basil on pizza. Try adding it to your gluten-free or cauliflower crust pizza!
Finger-Lickin’ Good Appetizers
Make a few easy finger foods for guests the next time you host a gathering. Varieties of bruschetta and Caprese skewers are always a hit!
Take Your Soups Up A Notch
Almost any tomato or veggie soup can benefit from adding some chopped fresh leaves. Tomato and basil were just meant to go together, but this herb would also taste amazing in squash, zucchini, or minestrone soups too!
Preserve It For Later
Even with all these ideas for using up basil, you may find that you want to store some to use and enjoy over the winter. You can dry the leaves in a dehydrator and store them in a glass jar for up to a year.
But, my favorite way to use fresh basil over the winter is to chop up fresh basil leaves, add them to olive oil, and freeze it in ice cube trays. Then, when I’m cooking over the winter, I simply pull out an ice cube or two and throw it into my recipes for that fresh taste I crave!
Give It Away
When you’ve tried everything else and still have too much basil to use up (with all these ideas, that won’t happen), a super-easy way to reduce your fresh supply is to share it with friends, family, or neighbors.
Final Thoughts On What To Do With Basil
Go ahead and grow basil this year! When it comes to harvesting a large amount of this versatile and delicious plant from the herb garden, the hard part isn’t figuring out what to do with basil. Instead, the hard part is deciding just how you want to use it first!
Be sure to have the right tools for your indoor garden – they make the job easier and promote healthy growth.
More Gardening Inspiration
- How To Plan A Vegetable Garden In 7 Easy Steps
- How To Grow Strawberries In Pots For BIG Harvests
- Growing Cucumbers: When And How To Harvest Cucumbers
- Companion Planting Vegetables for Higher Yields and Healthier Gardens
- Types of Mint
- How To Grow Mint
Check out all gardening posts!