We are big fans of basil here at Gardenuity. From planting it, to growing it, to harvesting and enjoying it – the experience as a whole is oh so fulfilling, and such a lovely reminder of growth in the summertime.
Basil is truly the gift that keeps on giving; it is renowned for adding amazing flavor and freshness to any dish, while also providing vitamins and nutrients that are fantastic for your health. Continue reading for 25 creative and exciting ways to enjoy your fresh basil harvest this year.
Get Creative with Your Basil
Basil Breakfast Smoothie
Try this Pineapple Basil Smoothie recipe from NYT Cooking for a fresh, power-packed breakfast option.
Make Your Own Perfume
Try out this basil perfume recipe from Hobby Farms that will make you feel like you’re always taking a relaxing stroll through the garden. In a jar, combine one part basil leaves to three parts vodka. Cover and shake. Steep for 4 to 6 weeks at room temperature, shaking every few days. The alcohol will extract the essential oils from the herb. Strain out herbs, pressing on the leaves to get as much “juice” as possible. Pass liquid through a coffee filter into a dark bottle. It will keep three to five years in a cool, dry area.
Roasted Tomato & Basil Soup
Sometimes you just need a bowl of soup, it is unavoidable. Take a shot at making one of our favorite tomato basil soups by following this recipe.
Fresh Basil & Lime Margarita
Nothing celebrates the end of a long day quite like a fresh margarita. Mix up your classic recipe by trying this tasty fresh basil & lime margarita recipe.
Ricotta Tomato Toast w/ Fresh Basil
We love toast toppers, especially on sourdough. The next time you are interested in a fancy breakfast, whip up this ricotta tomato toast with fresh basil recipe – you will not be sorry.
According to Natural Living Ideas, basil naturally works as a muscle relaxant, which can help to relieve tension headaches. Add a tablespoon of dried basil leaf, a handful of fresh leaves or a few drops of basil oil to three cups of water and bring to a boil. Transfer immediately to a large, heat proof bowl. Drape a towel over your head and lean over the bowl, positioning the towel to keep in as much steam as possible. Breathe in the vapors for up to ten minutes.
Basil Simple Syrup
If you are in the business of making craft cocktails this year, you need to try this basil simple syrup recipe from Hobby Farms. It’s the perfect addition to any thoughtfully crafted and fresh cocktail.
Top Whole Leaves onto Pizza
Whether it’s a classic Margherita Pie, or a creation entirely of your own, you can never go wrong with adding basil on top of your pizza. You can try adding whole leaves, or shredding it. If you want a more fresh result, save the basil for after the pizza comes out of the oven.
Spice Up Your Furry Friend’s Dinner
Basil has amazing health benefits for your faithful companions, too! Adding 2-3 leaves of basil to your dog’s or cat’s kibble provides a boost to their immune system. Read this article if you want to learn more about healthy herbs and spices for dogs and healthy herbs and spices for cats.
Basil + Cucumber Rum Cocktail
There’s nothing better than a fresh cocktail to close out a long, hot summer day. Enjoy our basil and cucumber rum cocktail recipe with fresh ingredients from your garden! If you want to use more herbs from your garden, mint also goes great in this cocktail.
Make a Basil Sugar Scrub
Try making this basil sugar scrub to keep your body soft and moisturized. In a mini food processor, blend 1/2 cup packed basil leaves (I use cinnamon basil) and 1/2 cup sugar together until finely ground. Add 2 tablespoons of oil (jojoba, safflower or another oil of your choice), and process for a few seconds to blend. Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, unless using an oil that doesn’t go rancid quickly, such as jojoba, in which case it’ll keep for up to 6 weeks at room temperature.
Herbal Laundry Sachet
Try using basil to freshen up your next load of laundry. Fill a small muslin bag with fresh basil leaves, and throw it in the dryer with your load. If you want to get extra creative, you can also add some of your other favorite herbs from the garden; lavender, rosemary, sage, you name it.
Basil butter is a super easy and extremely delicious addition to your kitchen. Finely chop 3-4 leaves of basil for every ¼ cup of butter, and mix it together. Spread your basil butter on top of toast with a sprinkle of sea salt, and you will be in heaven.
Basil popcorn is a simple and easy treat that you can enjoy at any time of the day. Make your popcorn, add butter and finely chop a few leaves of fresh basil to sprinkle on top. Bonus points if you add your fresh basil butter instead of regular butter!
Calm Your Stomach
Basil is also a wonderful natural remedy to an upset stomach. Also according to Natural Living Ideas, try steeping three basil leaves in a cup of boiling water and drink three or four times a day, between meals to help with digestion and stomach pain.
Spicy Strawberry Basil Margarita
Nothing says summertime like a refreshing, homemade margarita. This spicy strawberry basil margarita is a sweet and fresh twist on the classic cocktail. Add sugar to the rim, instead of salt, if you have a particularly insatiable sweet tooth. Give it a try!
Herb Infused Salsa Verde
This is a recipe we absolutely adore. Salsa verde is a great dipping or topping option for chips, tortillas, nachos, soup and tacos. Tangy with a little bit of spice, adding basil to this recipe is the perfect touch. Check it out here.
Dry your Basil
Drying basil from your garden is a great option to limit what you’re consuming from the store. Dry your basil by placing it on a parchment-lined baking tray and baking for 2-4 hours. Once you take it out, crunch up the leaves and store in an air-tight container.
This sweet and tangy recipe from Jessica Seinfeld is incredible; this salad is a super creative way to enjoy watermelon and basil together. Two summertime favorites. This recipe is a great appetizer, and a great way to use up your fresh basil harvest. Give it a try!
Make your Own Deodorant
Follow this recipe by Grow, Forage, Cook, Ferment to make your very own deodorant with fresh basil.
Basil Ice Cubes
Putting basil in your ice is a fantastic way to store and enjoy your fresh basil. Keeping basil in ice is one way to keep it fresh; when you’re ready to use it, simply thaw the ice and your basil is good to go! If you want a way to enjoy the benefits of basil in your beverage, pop the basil cubes into any drink for a fresh flavor.
Treat Bug Bites
Basil naturally works as an antimicrobial agent, as well as having lots of antioxidants, as Natural Living Ideas shares. If you need instant relief from a bug bite or a small cut, try chopping and chewing a piece of basil and adding it to the affected area.
Baked Basil Chips
We love this recipe for baked basil chips from Simply Scratch. All you need to make this delicious snack is fresh basil, sea salt, olive oil, and your oven. These tasty chips can be enjoyed at any time of the day, and they are so easy to make. Check out the recipe here.
Caprese Salad Kabobs
Mix up your classic salad with this kabob style Caprese salad; a classic way to enjoy your fresh basil, with a fun twist. All you need is your fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, and some fresh tomatoes; skewer them up, drizzle with some olive oil, add a pinch of salt, and enjoy. Bonus points if your tomatoes are also homegrown!
Your basil plant is so beautiful. In fact, it would make the perfect addition to your next floral arrangement. Chop off some stalks from your garden and place them in a vase. And voila! If you really want to keep enjoying your basil decor, you can dry it out in the sun and hang it on your wall for some bohemian flair.
Start Your Basil Garden
If you’re feeling excited about these fun uses for a fresh basil harvest, then you should get out into your garden and start growing. If you don’t know where to start, that is okay too. Take a look at our Complete Guide to Growing Basil to learn more about how to have a successful harvest for seasons to come. If you are ready to get growing you can start by growing one of our herb gardens!