Basil is one beautiful herb, because it is not only pleasing to the eye but pleasing to the palette too. Basil is easy to find, easy to grow, and easy to use in a variety of ways around your home. You may not have thought of basil for much more than adding some spice to your salad or pasta, but the truth is there are many practical and purposeful uses for basil that can add flavor to your recipes, save you time, and of course save you money. The Italians know about all of the marvelous uses for basil, and now you will too. Take a look below at 10 uses for basil that you can try this weekend!
It is not too late to head to your local gardening center or farmer’s market to snag a basil plant of your very own. You can even grow a plant from seed if you wish. Basil will fit in well in your garden or even your flower beds, or if you wish you can keep a pot of it right in your window sill. Plants costs just a few dollars each, so they are perfect for any gardener’s budget. Now, take a look at all of the uses for the beautiful basil plant.
10 Uses for Basil:
1. Soothe the stomach.
An old remedy for an upset stomach is to soak a few basil leaves or sprinkle some basil in your tea or cup of warm water. Sip slowly and in a few minutes the basil should have a calming affect on an irritated tummy.
2. Suppress hunger.
Can basil keep you skinny? A little warm water with basil leaves or basil infused tea can help you feel full. Sip a little before a large meal so you eat less, or enjoy as an afternoon drink to keep the munchies at bay.
3. Quiet a cough.
Get rid of that pesky cough. Another old remedy is to chew on fresh basil leaves to quiet a cough. The basil plant has many soothing, healing properties and relieving an inflamed throat is said to be one of them.
4. Give yourself a therapeutic steam.
Put a few basil leaves in a boiling pot of water and inhale the steam. It is not only said to help relieve tension and as a result tension headaches, but can have a soothing effect on your skin as well. Plus, it makes your house smell great! You can also add basil to your bath to help you relax.
5. Treat Stings.
If you get stung by a bug or bee, just tear a basil leaf up into small pieces and press against the bite. It will soothe the area until you can wash it and cover it with a bandage. It is like nature’s own temporary bandage!
6. Fancy up your drinks.
People are finding all sorts of ways to add basil to cocktails and other beverages. The leaves not only make a nice garnish, but you can muddle basil and add it to a variety of sweet cocktails including watermelon martinis. How yummy does that sound? If you wish, you can even freeze basil leaves directly into ice cubes. That way you can just toss them in and let the basil infuse your drink with flavor.
7. Sweeten up your salad.
Some varieties of basil are sweeter than others and perfect for adding to your green salads. You can even chop up basil and sprinkle it on your fruit salads if you wish for an extra pop of flavor.
8. Infuse your oils.
If you have a bottle of boring olive or vegetable oil, place a stem of basil in it and allow it to set for several days. The basil will infuse the oil making it perfect for marinating meat or using as a salad dressing.
9. Use as a decorative element.
With its petite white flowers and lovely aroma, basil makes a wonderful centerpiece! Gather stems of basil and place on your kitchen table, picnic table, or anywhere you need a little pop of color and character. Because it is so inexpensive, it is a more budget friendly option than cut flowers too.
10. Make the perfect Pesto of course!
Pesto is one of the most popular dishes when it comes to basil! Pesto is a mixture of basil and a variation of other herbs, vegetables, and spices. The pesto is then used as an appetizer ingredient or to marinate meat. Take a look below at an excellent pesto recipe that you can try!
- ⅓ cup walnuts
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped well
- 6 cups of fresh basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1½ cups olive oil
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated fine.
- Add the walnuts, garlic, and pine nuts to the food processor and process for 30 seconds.
- Next, add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. Process for 15 more seconds. Remove from processor.
- Add your olive oil and cheese and mix by hand until smooth.
You should serve your pesto immediately. It is great on Italian toast or other toasted and thick breads. It can be even spread on your sandwiches including grilled cheese, grilled turkey, or other toasted sandwiches. Be creative and see all of the ways you can use this easy to make, basil infused treat.
See how easy it is to incorporate basil into your everyday life? If you don’t own a basil plant just yet, there has never been a better time to run out and grab one!
Katie Femia is a wife and mother of three. She loves vintage finds, handmade goodness, the frugal life, and the long road to publication. You can find her at The Savvy Luna Bugg, the blog for frugalistas seeking simplicity through a handmade and vintage lifestyle.