Help! Bumper Crop of Basil

This year for some reason the basil has flourished. I planted more than normal, to counter the losses I expect from the neglect I usually exhibit, but we set up some minimal watering and these bushes have been giving non-stop. I cut all the tops before leaving for 10 days, giving two neighbors each more than a seasons’ supply. Now back, I just repeated the process. I already have a freezer full of pesto from a few weeks ago.

So…any great ideas for non-pesto ways to use basil? Certainly I can throw a few leaves on a caprese salad or a pizza, but are there interesting recipes that will use some of the bulk?

The rosemary and oregano have been equally profusive. And I’ve been pulling up and throwing away mint faster than I can make mojitos.

Tomatos not so much, for some reason.

Not sure if this is 100% fact but a friend told me you can pick the individual leaves, freeze them, and use them as needed in sauces, soups etc straight from the freezer with no drop off in flavor.

Another option would be to see if any nearby restaurants might be interested

Chimichurri goes well on meats and fish.

I make an oil with basil I’m unable to use fresh. It especially comes in handy when out of season.

It’s worth a try I suppose, thanks.

John: It works. We make pesto “ice cubes” and freeze them for use during the winter. The only ingredient we leave out is the pine nuts which we add at the time of use.

Marshall [cheers.gif]

and use less olive oil, which you add when used

Hmm - never have enough basil myself but my mother left out the cheese when freezing and I’ve always enjoyed the result.

Basil and mint lemonade. Very good.

This. Done it many times.


I’ve done the Sorbet by making a simple syrup (3C water, 3C sugar) then adding basil leaves (2-3C packed) to the hot liquid and steeping them for about 10 minutes at a low simmer. Press out the solids through cheesecloth and let the liquid fall into a sheet pan. Freeze, then scrape up with a spatula and store in a jar or tupperware container. Great palate cleanser or addition to a dessert. For sherbet you add cream and put it in an ice cream maker.

In my best Bubba Blue voice, “Strawberry basil jam, raspberry basil jam, tomato basil jam, plain old basil jam, basil aoli, basil butter, basil vinegar” etc.

I’ve had a few cocktails in NYC this Summer that have essentially replaced mint with basil. They’ve been very good. I have a few bunches growing, so I think I’ll play with that.

If you’re going to make pesto to freeze or keep, blanch the basil first. Dip it into boiling water and immediately into ice water. Then dry thoroughly. It will go limp but it will retain the green color. Otherwise it turns black and gross looking. I saw Jacques Pepin do that years ago and never had black basil again.

Another thing you can do, which I’m in fact going to do today, is wash and clean and dry it thoroughly, then pulse a little bit in the food processor with your flour when you’re making pasta or some kind of bread or pizza dough. Today it’s going to be fettucine. It gives the dough a green color but also a nice flavor.

Make a batch of Basil Vinaigrette - stays a couple weeks in the fridge (I keep mine in a mason jar). I blend together a couple handfuls of basil leaves, EVOO, white wine or champagne vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, s & p.

Lots of great ideas. My freezer is fully stocked with enough pesto to survive the apocalypse.

Interesting that the various takes on freezing pesto have included: don’t add the pine nuts, don’t add as much oil, don’t add the cheese, and blanche the leaves first. I’ve been fine with just going all in with no adjustments, but it would be fun to try some of these variations. I tend to find that the flavors of the ingredients, especially if heavy to garlic, are so strong that I can’t distinguish too much nuance in the finished product. For example, I use romano instead of parmesan, also 50/50 pine nuts and walnuts, and have also tried various other basil varieties, but in the end the taste is pretty much POTS, as my cable guy would say.

That’s flat-leaf parsley, not basil.

Chimichurri can be a blend of many different herbs, parsley is not the only option and basil can be combined with parsley.

I am so jealous. We have a truckload of basil, almost a dozen different varieties…but my wife says the bees like the plants so much she won’t allow the plants to be deadheaded, so we have a whole lotta not so flavorful basil…but happy bees.