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GardeningPlant GuideSustainabilityNovember 6, 2022by Colin RossWhat To Do With Basil

I love basil because of how easily it grows, its ability to propagate in water, basil smells great, and its ready to harvest almost weekly. With a weekly harvest though, you end up with the question of “what do I do with basil?”. Here are a few of the ways I’ve found to use my basil harvests.

  1. Dry it
    One of the most common things to do with basil is to dry it, grind it, and add it to your spice rack. While this is really easy to do in a food dehydrator or even just hanging the branches in a dark dry room, it is only #1 because of the popularity of the method. I think it’s great to have on hand, but wouldn’t we all rather have fresh basil? When you dehydrate it, it loses a lot of its smell, and flavor, and even turns brown instead of the lush green of a fresh leaf.
  2. Freeze it
    I couldn’t believe I didn’t think of this method until my cousin told me it was what she did. After you cut your basil, simply put the leaves in a bag in the freezer. When you need a few leaves for a sauce or to blend down into a pesto, just pull them out and drop them in. This does change the texture a bit and can be soggy if just left for garnish but it is perfect for sauces. I’ve seen that people put it in an olive oil mixture as well, but not everything you use it for will need olive oil, so just toss it in there as is.
  3. Cook It
    Obviously cooking basil is why we are here! Basil makes a great addition to everything in my opinion. It can be used in salads, as a pesto, garnish. soups, pasta, there are almost no dishes you can’t sprinkle this on to enhance the flavor.
  4. Drink It
    My neighbor swears by basil tea. It blew her mind when I gave her a recipe for basil lemonade! There are tons of tonics and drinks you can work basil into, even if only as a garnish.
  5. Pets Love It
    At our house, I try to make sure everyone gets some of what we grow. Basil has health properties that help everyone at our place, the people, dogs, chickens, and even the ducks. Typically when I am harvesting, I keep the best stuff in the “culinary” pile, and all that don’t make that cut goes into the pet pile. I will then mix some of the steems and leaves into the pet feeds.
  6. Make new basil!
    Undoubtedly, one of the best things about harvesting basil is the ability to get new plants from existing plants. Clipping at the right place of the plant and letting the stems and leaves sit in water and light will start them to generate new roots! If you get bored waiting the 7-12 days it takes you can always use the clippings in your cooking.

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