Excess Basil? Try These Creative Ideas to Make the Most of Your Harvest!



Excess basil can be a common issue for gardeners or those who love to cook with fresh herbs. The fragrant and flavorful herb is known for its versatility in the kitchen and is used in a variety of dishes such as salads, pesto, pasta sauces, soups, stews, and more. But what do you do when you have way too much basil than you know what to do with?

If you are wondering about the possibilities of using excess basil or how to preserve this herb before it spoils – then look no further! This article will explore some creative ways that will help you make the most out of your surplus basil. From making homemade infused oils or vinegars to freezing it for later use – there are plenty of options available that will keep your pantry stocked up all year round.

So if you're ready to learn about some exciting recipes and useful tips on how best to use your excess basil – then read on!

What to Do with Excess Basil: Tips and Tricks

Basil is a popular herb in the culinary world and is used extensively in Mediterranean, Italian, Thai, and Indian cuisines. It's an easy plant to grow at home and provides an abundance of fresh leaves throughout the year. However, sometimes you may end up with more basil than you know what to do with. Don't worry; we've got some tips and tricks on what to do with excess basil.

Freeze Your Basil

Freezing your basil leaves is an excellent way to preserve them for later use. Here's how you can freeze your excess basil:

  1. Wash the leaves thoroughly.
  2. Pat dry using a paper towel.
  3. Remove any hard stems or damaged leaves.
  4. Place the clean leaves into ice cube trays.
  5. Fill each compartment halfway with water or olive oil before freezing.

Once frozen solidly, remove them from the tray and store them in labelled Ziploc bags or containers in the freezer.

Make Pesto Sauce

Pesto sauce is one of the most popular ways of making use of excess basil as it freezes well too! Here's how you can make pesto sauce:


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed)
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (toasted)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled)
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Add all ingredients except olive oil into a food processor until finely chopped for about one minute.
  2. Gradually drizzle olive oil while processing until smooth paste forms.

You can store this pesto sauce for weeks by keeping it refrigerated or freezing it!

Dry Your Basil Leaves

Drying your herbs gives them an extended shelf life while maintaining their flavour profiles well enough! Dried parsley is a popular herb, but did you know that dried basil leaves work just as well? Drying basil leaves is straightforward. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Rinse your excess basil in cold water and pat dry.
  2. Strip the leaves from the stems and discard any damaged or discolored ones.
  3. Tie the stems together with twine to form a small bundle.
  4. Hang these bundles upside down in a warm, dry area like a pantry or near an oven.

Once they are thoroughly dried, store them in an air-tight container out of direct sunlight.

Make Infused Oil

Basil-infused oil adds flavour to your cooking while also preserving excess herbs for long periods! You can use this oil for dressings or marinades too! Here's how you make infused oil:


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed)
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Wash and pat-dry all ingredients before placing them into jars of warmed extra virgin olive oils that have been heated until slightly hot/steaming?
  2. Cover tightly with lid/cork before storing it away at room temperature, shaking occasionally over two weeks when opening up on day four/five/seven times throughout storage period!

In conclusion, having excess herbs doesn't always mean waste; there are several ways to utilise them effectively while creating exciting recipes at home!


What are some creative ways to use excess basil?

Basil is a versatile herb that can be used in various ways. When you have an abundance of basil, there are numerous creative ways you can use it up. One fantastic way to use excess basil is by making pesto sauce. Pesto sauce is easy to make and requires fresh ingredients such as garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and parmesan cheese.

Another way you can creatively utilize your extra basil leaves includes making flavored oils or vinegars infused with the herb's taste. You may also add chopped fresh herbs on top of homemade pizzas or add them as garnish over soups or salads for added flavor.

You could also make yourself a refreshing drink by infusing cold water with sliced lemons and lime along with crushed basil leaves.

Finally, another great idea for using leftover Basil would be incorporating it into homemade bread dough before baking; this will give your bread delicious undertones of the aromatic herb giving an entirely new dimension to the classic loaf recipe!

How long does freshly picked Basil last?

Freshly picked Basil has a relatively short shelf life compared to other vegetables like cucumbers or carrots due to its delicate nature. The best method when storing freshly picked Basil is by trimming off any damaged parts then storing it in the refrigerator either wrapped in cling film or simply placing its stems in water like cut flowers (changing out its water regularly).

When stored correctly under these conditions (ideally at 50°F), fresh-cut Basil should last between five days up two weeks depending on how well they were harvested and transported from farm-to-table before reaching your kitchen.

One great tip for maintaining freshness while keeping flavor intact would be not washing away any dirt since moisture promotes decay when allowed siting too long dampening your harvest's quality rather than enhancing its shelf-life properly

Can I freeze fresh basil?

Yes! Freezing Freshly-picked Basil is a fantastic way to keep it for long periods, well beyond its natural expiration date. You can use the frozen Basil leaves in recipes like pesto sauce and tomato sauce or pasta dishes.

The first step in freezing basil would be to blanch them quickly before storing them. Blanching helps set the Basil's color while also preventing unnecessary oxidation of the leaves, which can cause discoloration over time.

Simply place your freshly-picked Basil into boiling water for 5 seconds then immediately transfer it into ice-cold water until fully cooled down. Finally, pat dry with paper towels and store tightly packed inside freezer-safe containers or bags ensuring there is no excess air trapped inside that could damage your herbs.

What are some popular recipes using basil?

Basil is a popular herb used extensively in many cuisines worldwide due to its unique flavor profile and subtlety when properly paired with other ingredients; Below are just but a few examples:

  1. Caprese Salad: This classic Italian salad consists of fresh mozzarella cheese slices layered between fresh Tomato slices sprinkled on top of freshly cut basil leaves drizzled lightly with olive oil.

  2. Margherita Pizza: A pizza made from scratch topped off simply by adding Freshly picked basil atop sliced tomatoes & grated mozzarella cheese before baking under high heat

  3. Pesto Sauce: A flavorful green paste made up of crushed garlic cloves blended together alongside pine nuts parmesan & extra virgin olive oil all mixed together then served over cooked pasta!

Can I use dried basil instead?

While dried herbs like oregano do phenomenally well as substitutes for their fresh counterparts, unfortunately drying out Basil takes away most if not all its aromatic flavors leaving you without much benefit compared to using fresh-cut herb directly from your garden – unless you plan on cooking something that doesn't require more than minimal seasoning such as soups or stews where subtle herb flavoring serves only one aspect of the recipe.

If you don't have fresh basil on hand and need to use dried basil as a substitute, it's best to use only small amounts since its flavor is less potent than fresh. One teaspoon of dried Basil equals three teaspoons or one tablespoon of freshly chopped Basil when it comes to recipes that call for either ingredient. This substitution will help achieve the desired taste even if not exactly like that served by fresh-cut herbs directly from your garden and thus would be fantastic in a pinch.

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