Well it's getting to be that time of year. Do you get a CSA basket of fresh veggies each week? Do you often have more than you can use before it goes bad? I was recently gifted a gob of basil and I needed to find some ideas of things to do with it before it tanked. Oh, and I am not really a pesto person. Here's what I did!
Sautee zuchinni with basil and garlic and olive oil
Make a Basil Simple Syrup
Make basil extract
Make a basil-infused olive Oil.
The first is pretty self-explanatory. It was tasty, especially cold. It would be a great side salad for a summer picnic.
Basil simple syrup is pretty easy. Chop up a half cup basil. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a small pan and add basil. Bring to a simmer over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves and then take off heat. Let cool and strain into an airtight container. Store in the fridge. There are some great suggestions on what to do with basil simple syrup here at Oh My Veggies. I am having it in Strawberry lemonade as I type!
Basil Extract is also pretty easy. I chopped up a cup of basil and added it to a glass jar that has a tight fitting lid (I used an old salsa jar). Add 3/4 cup vodka (you can also use grain alcohol). Cover jar with plastic wrap and screw on the cap. Shake to mix and store in a cool dark place for 4-6 weeks, shaking every couple of days. After this time period, strain out the herb and you will have basil extract. More information can be found here at Mountain Rose herbs.
Basil-infused Olive oil is pretty straightforward. I hope to use this to make a basil salt scrub next week. Add 1/2 cup ripped or chopped basil to about 1 cup olive oil in a small pan. Warm the oil over medium heat but don't let it boil. Transfer to a glass jar and cover. Store in a cool dark place for a week and then strain out the herbs if desired. You can also find a similar recipe using garlic in addition to the basil here at Boston Food and Whine.