What to Do With Fresh Basil During the Summer

Last Updated on May 12, 2023 by Ellen Christian

I love fresh herbs from my garden but by the end of the summer, my herb garden has started to go crazy.  I’m seriously wondering what to do with fresh basil right now. I know you can add it to spaghetti sauce but really, there are only so many days a week that I want to eat spaghetti. I even have a little pot of basil growing in the kitchen for easy access.

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What to do with fresh basil

What to Do With Fresh Basil

There are several different types of basil that are used in cooking. I have sweet basil right now. That’s the most common type of culinary basil and the one that most people use in Italian cooking. I’ve also grown purple basil and used it much the same way.

Gifts for foodies

If you’re considering growing basil in your garden next year, be aware that it likes to have a lot of sunlight. It’s also an annual which means that you will need to replant it each year if you live in a climate with harsh winters.

You can also keep a small pot of it growing on your kitchen windowsill as I do. Just be sure it gets a lot of sunlight and you remember to water it.

9 Ways to use fresh basil

So, what can you do with fresh basil? Here are a few places to start:

Spaghetti Sauce

The most traditional way to use fresh basil is in spaghetti sauce. You can add it to your homemade spaghetti sauce, or you can doctor up a jar of sauce with a bit of fresh basil. Looking for more recipes? Here are Instapot Recipes that use fresh basil.

What to do with fresh basil

Pesto Sauce

I always make homemade pesto sauce at least once a year when the basil is at its best. It’s very easy to make and so much better than the kind you buy pre-made.

What to do with fresh basil

Make a Tea

Add one teaspoon of fresh basil leaves to boiling water to make a tea that will help with stomach upsets. Allow it to sit for 3-5 minutes before drinking.

Drink to Soothe a Cough

Make tea as above but stir in a teaspoon of raw honey and add a slice of lemon for a tea that will help soothe coughs.

Make your own Italian Herb Spice Blend #MyMixx

Make a Spice Blend

Dry a few leaves and make your own Italian Herb Spice Blend to use in your favorite Italian recipes.

Dry it

Hang it in a dry, dark place until it’s dry, and the leaves crumble when you touch them. That way you’ll have dried basil to use in the winter.

Make Basil Vinegar

Add a few fresh basil leaves to your white vinegar and allow to sit in a dark cupboard for a month. You will then have basil flavored vinegar to add to your salads.

15 Essential Oil Crafts to Destress With

Make a Salt or Sugar Scrub.

Salt or sugar scrubs are great for your skin. Try this cucumber basil sugar scrub with your fresh basil.

What to do with fresh basil

Top your Favorite Foods

Add a few leaves to your favorite meal. Basil leaves are great on burgers, pizza, and many other dishes. Or you can try my herb and veggie quiche recipe.

I’m trying to enjoy my fresh basil as often as I can. I know that far too soon the ground will be covered with snow. How that you know what to do with fresh basil, which will you try first?

How to use up too much fresh basil. How to preserve basil.

How do you preserve fresh basil?

I love fresh basil and want to keep it around as long as possible. The best way to keep preserve fresh basil is to allow it to keep growing in the garden. That way, you can snip some off the plant whenever you want it. If you can’t or don’t want to do that, here’s how you can do it:

  • Blanch it. Just remove the leaves from the stem and then blanch them in boiling water for 2 seconds.
  • Transfer to an ice bath
  • Dry the leaves completely.
  • Store them in a freezer proof plastic container.
  • Be sure to layer them between pieces of parchment paper making one layer.

Using this method, you can preserve fresh basil for two to three months after you freeze it. It’s very important that you dry the leaves completely before freezing them. If you don’t, they will get ice crystals and be damaged during the freezing process.

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16 thoughts on “What to Do With Fresh Basil During the Summer”

  1. One of my favorite summertime treats is fresh basil with homegrown tomatoes, mozzarella on a French baguette drizzled with olive oil & a spritz if balsamic vinegar! 😋
  2. These are all great uses of basil. I love to use fresh herbs in my cooking, I think its perfect to add to homemade spaghetti sauce.
  3. Fresh basil is the best! I am drying some on my kitchen counter right now. It's so easy to grow and great for so many uses as you mentioned.
  4. I love fresh basil. It's delicious in dressings and recipes, and it's so much fun to be able to harvest and dry it from my windowsill. 

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