If you’re into gardening, or buying bulk fresh ingredients, from time to time you’re bound to find yourself with too much of one thing or another.
Before it goes bad, you need to think of something to do with it otherwise it’s a total waste (and no one likes to see perfectly good food go in the trash can).
Read on to discover exactly what you can do with basil before it goes bad, including the asnswers to several important related questions!
What To Do With Basil When You Have Too Much?
When you have too much fresh basil, and you don’t want it to go bad, what can you do with it? That is the question!
Below, we discuss 15 creative ideas for using basil before it goes bad:
1. Make pesto
One of the most common things to do with fresh basil is to make pesto. It’s quick, it’s easy, and most of all it’s tasty! Plus, the internet is ripe with easy basil pesto recipes. If you have fresh garlic leftover as well, you’re in the money with making pesto. Just add some olive oil and wah-lah.
2. Make salad dressing
If you’re a salad lover, like us, you can use up as much fresh basil as possible by making a batch or two of salad dressing with basil as one of the key ingredients. As with pesto, you’ll find countless recipes for salad dressing that use fresh basil as a primary ingredient.
3. Make infused cooking oil
Depending on how involved you want to get, you may consider making infused cooking oil with some of your fresh basil. There are various methods for infusing cooking oil with herbs, as well as numerous types of cooking oil to choose from. This idea won’t take up much of your fresh basil supply, but it’ll surely help get rid of some of it before it goes bad.
4. Feed it to Pets
Another great way to get rid of a decent amount of fresh basil (once you’ve used it for as many food-related ideas as you can)is to feed it to your pets. Whether you have cats, dogs, guinea pigs, or even a bearded dragon, basil is a safe and healthy snack for your pets. Just don’t give them a pound of the stuff every day.
5. Dry it
If you have absolutely run out of ideas for things to do with your fresh basil (which, with everything our list, shouldn’t be for awhile), you may also opt to do the most common thing of all: dry it. Throw it on a rack or tie it up and hang it somewhere that it is dry and not too warm. Return in a week or two and stick your dried herb into jars or freezer bags.
6. Freeze it
Speaking of freezer bags, if you have way too much fresh basil, you can always just freeze it. Whether you take the time to dry it first or not, basil may be frozen for several months, or even years.
7. Give it away
When you have pesto, salad dressing, and dry basil-ed yourself half to death, one excellent thing to do with your herb before it goes bad is to give it away to friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and possibly the mailman or pizza guy. Most people who enjoy cooking won’t be able to resist the gift of fresh basil.
8. Donate it
If you have a tractor-trailer load of basil left (or even just several ounces or pounds in a ziplock bag or ten) one cool thing that you can do with your basil before it goes bad is to donate it to a pet store or someone with a barnyard full of pets. Does your cute little niece Alice have a guinea pig? If so, problem solved!
9. Make a Blend of Dried Herbs
If you love cooking, or your mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, wife, or best friend from childhood enjoys cooking, you can always make a sophisticated and tasty mixture of dried herbs. If it comes out extra-nice, why not share it around and show off your culinary spice-making skills?
10. Make Cocktails
Believe it or not, the 10th idea on our list is making cocktails. Yes, you read that right. You can use fresh basil to make cocktails… and drink them… with basil in them! Don’t believe us? No worries, just head over to Google and search it up (and prepare to have your mind blown at the number of beverages that contain basil as a possible ingredient).
11. Use it in a Special Salad
You can always use fresh basil in a special salad. No, we’re not talking about a salad bowl full of basil leaves, we’re talking about a rehydrating and refreshing tasty and delicious (always nutritious) vegan salad. Pop on over to your nearest Google search bar and search up rehydrating salad recipes with basil.
12. Cook Freezable Dishes with Basil
When you are at your wit’s end, and you still have a pile full of fresh basil to deal with, have no fear for there is indeed a great white light at the end of the seemingly never-ending tunnel of basil: you can make dishes and freeze them for late. Ha, It’s genius, right!?
13. Clone it
Brace yourself for number 13; you can clone your fresh basil and turn it into new plants. We know, we know. Your brain just went “poof”. So did our when we first had the thought. Whoa! All you need to do is just snip the end of a stem at a 45-degree angle, set it in a cup of water, come back in a week, and blam! Brand new basil plant with roots established, ready to be planted.
14. Try a Basil-based Ice Cream Recipe
One crazy idea is to make some good old homemade basil-flavored ice cream. Ever heard of it? Neither had we. But, hey. Don’t knock it till you try it, and don’t tell anyone we didn’t let you know that basil-infused ice cream is a thing. Because basil-infused ice cream is a real thing. Just ask Google or Bing.
15. Mix it with Watermelon and Cucumbers
If you enjoy tasty vegan dishes that the rest of the world seem to always miss out on, you’re in for a treat with the 15th way we’ve laid out for you to deal with your surplus of fresh basil: mix some of that yummy green stuff up with watermelon, cucumbers, a bit of oil, and you are in business.
Can You Freeze Basil for Later Use?
Freezing basil for later is easy. Just put it in an airtight container or freezer bag. Keep in mind that the texture and taste of frozen basil won’t be the same as it is when it is fresh. You can unfreeze your basil just a bit at a time and use it as you please.
What’s the Best Way to Preserve Basil?
There is no one way that is best to preserve basil, rather there are a few: stash it away in the freezer, dry it and store it, make a puree and freeze it, or turn it into an oil.
Is It Better to Freeze or Dry Basil?
Basil is excellent both dried and frozen because it does retain most of its flavors and properties. That said, if you are used to the taste of cooking basil (dried), frozen basil won’t taste how you expect it to. At any rate, whether freezing or drying basil is better is a personal opinion.