I have an abundance of basil... My garden really bloomed this week. Other than pesto any ideas of what to do with it?

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16 Comments

Smaug August 21, 2016
Ancient methods of preserving Basil include layering it with salt or oil. Drying is a waste of time. I use the ice cube tray method- I think it works OK with winter sauces (which tend to be pretty dark, with canned tomatoes, carrot, celery, and a lot of herbs) and stew and such, but it's certainly nothing like fresh. One problem with a lot of preserved basil is that the basil itself isn't that good. Plants have usually gone to flower by now, unless you do successive crops- even if you remove the flowers, the plant's chemistry changes when it moves into the flowering phase and the flavor deteriorates. Mostly, I just skip it in the off season (which is short where I live)- it makes it all the more appreciated when the season comes around again.
 
MMH August 20, 2016
Our basil is a wonderland! Have grown it for years but was way more successful than usual. We live in Omaha so the night temps will start to get it soon. We have made tons of pesto and will use it. Not interested in oils or vinegars or butters. We have also frozen in in ice cube trays. I have frozen it in whole leaves and branches before without great success. I want to know 2 things for those of you who freeze the leaves and branches - 1) how do you do it most successfully? And 2) in reality what do you do with it. I'm trying to maximize my freezer space and don't want to waste it with a bunch of mushy leaves. I want the space for things well really use.
 
Susan W. August 20, 2016
It was either Amanda or Merrill who said they freeze it whole, but mine was a disaster. It smelled weird. Like old basil. I had the same experience with ice cube tray and water. Just yuck.

My favorite is to stick a ton of leaves (never added stems) in my cuisinart or blender and add just enough oil to bring it together. Then I stick it in ziplock baggies and flatten the air out. When I need some, I just reach in and break off a piece. Tastes very fresh and takes up very little room.
 
em-i-lis July 23, 2012
These all sound great. To throw another recipe into the mix, I am currently obsessed(!) with my plum-basil jam: http://www.food52.com/recipes/18246_shiro_plum_and_basil_jam
:)
 
Tony S. July 23, 2012
A couple of sweet ideas... make a simple syrup and puree a ton of basil into it. you can use it as a sauce for things like panna cotta with sliced fruit or strawberry shortcake. Another great idea is lemon-basil sorbet. Make your sorbet base and puree a handful of basil leaves into it.

Forgot to mention, strain the basil leaves prior to using.

 
Sugar &. July 23, 2012
I really love making basil aioli it's great on a sandwich as well as a nice piece of fish.
 
Pecan-Ann July 23, 2012
I dry mine in the oven. it only takes very low low heat and you leave it. I find with electric heat it does not create a huge bill to do it. You can process alot at one time.

also one of my favorite all time preserving books "putting by" helps you learn the old fashion country ways of putting food by for another time.

I also just ready that with herbs, apple juice and pectin you can make herb jelly?
 
HalfPint July 23, 2012
I would go sweet as well as savory:
-ice cream. Basil & vanilla ice cream is wonderful. Just puree the basil into the ice cream base and freeze.
-panna cotta. Had this once at a swanky steakhouse. beautiful pale green and delicious.
-strawberry basil shrub. Make a simple syrup with basil, strawberries. Add equal part balsamic vinegar. Simmer 10 minutes. Add the syrup to a tall glass of ice and club soda.
 
pierino July 23, 2012
The classic "Pizza Margherita" calls for tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil. No other topping required.
 
slock July 23, 2012
Kristen W's answer reminded me of s strawberry-basil martini I had at a fancy hotel. I recreated it using lemon juice, simple syrup, with muddled strawberries and basil. They go down super easy so be careful!
 
Kristen W. July 22, 2012
Yes to all of the above ideas. Also, basil can be a yummy addition to some fruit smoothies (strawberry-basil comes to mind).
 
Sam1148 July 22, 2012
Basil, mint, feta cheese and watermelon cubes. With a splash of balsamic vinegar.

I've been making a lot of white pizza lately. With seasoned ricotta cheese, mozarella as the base 'sauce'. with asparagus and red onion. Baked then finished with strips of roasted chicken and basil tossed with olive oil..and put on in the last 30 seconds--I like the basil to wilt..but you don't have to do that.

I think basil would also pare well with cooked pears cut in half with goat cheese, or blue cheese, basil, and balsamic vinegar.

Give it away to co-workers. My basil died and I have to buy fresh stuff.
 
JanetFL July 22, 2012
I only have one comment to add to the above excellent suggestions......I wish I lived next-door to you!
 
PistachioDoughnut July 22, 2012
The above suggestions are spot on but recently there was this feed, and I really liked it. Here is the link -
http://www.food52.com/blog/3902_taste_summer_all_the_way_through_winter
 

Voted the Best Reply!

inpatskitchen July 22, 2012
I grow a lot of basil in the summer just so I can have these basil cubes in the freezer during the winter for soups, stews, spaghetti sauce, marinades etc.

http://www.food52.com/recipes/17301_basil_cubes
 
pieceocake July 22, 2012
Basil is a delightful addition to tomato sauces, Caprese Salad (mozzarella, tomatoes, olives and olive oil), cold pasta salads, and salad dressings. It is also good in green salads--just tear the leaves into very small pieces and toss with the other greens.
 
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