What would summer be without basil? Fairly ho-hum, if you ask us. Basil’s refreshing aroma and distinct flavor make it the perfect addition to a wide range of seasonal dishes, from fresh salads to airy crepes. These recipes will convince you that this lively herb should be gobbled up. All of it.
Basil harbors volatile oils like eugenol and linalool that appear to have strong antibacterial powers. They could keep down levels of unwanted bacteria in the body for better overall health. And when mixed in with meat-based dishes, there’s also the potential for the bacteria-busting oils in basil to make foods like chicken and ground meat safer to eat.
Includes gluten- & dairy-free options
Vegetarian; includes gluten-free option
Gluten free; includes dairy-free option
Make that basil last!
If you have more basil on your hands than you can use in a reasonable amount of time, consider freezing or drying some.
Simply blanch whole basil leaves in boiling water for a few seconds, plunge into ice water, pat dry, and place in an airtight container for storage in the freezer.
This basil won’t be great for salads, but it can still punch up the flavor of soups, sauces, and even smoothies. The flavor will be more pronounced if you don’t let it thaw before using.
Place chopped fresh basil leaves in an ice cube tray and cover with water, oil, or broth before freezing. Once frozen, pop the cubes out into an airtight container and return to the freezer. The basil cubes can then be added directly to dishes like soups.
When nature gives you fresh sun-kissed basil in spades, consider drying some for when the winter chill returns. Use kitchen twine to hang a bunch by the stems in a sunny location with good air circulation until the leaves crumble when pressed between your fingers. Pulverize the leaves using a mortar and pestle or food processor and store in a cool, dark place for up to six months.