HOW TO PRESERVE YOUR BASIL & OTHER HERBS

TEAS, PESTOS, INFUSIONS
ENTERTAINING | FOOD & DRINK
Worm in the Garden, Basil, Worm, Summer, Organic

Before we know it, Autumn will be here so a few things need to be added to your to do list: update your wardrobe with new fall staples before the best ones are sold out and pick your garden before the cold gets to your vegetables and herbs.  In my case I often have more herbs than I can use so I have to find ways to preserve them. When I do things like this, it makes me feel more connected to my great grandmothers I never got to know. My Cajun grandmother in Louisiana often tells me stories about her mom preserving all the foods they would grow on their farm.  She says they were poor, but they always ate really well!!! For a Cajun, good food is good livin'.

This summer my father went crazy growing herbs and vegetables. He has the most incredible luck with plants. He sent me bags and bags and bags of different basil varieties from his gardens. So I got to work figuring out what to do with all of these before they wilted.

Here are some standard preserving techniques:
- Drying
- Freezing
- Salting

These are more fun (which is of course what I did):
- Teas
- Pestos
- Infused Oils 
- Infused Alcohols
- Infused Butters

LEMON BALM = LEMON BALM TEA
Lemon Balm herb

Many people think of tea as only being made of tea leaves. Yet any herb can be made into tea by simply steeping it in hot water. THAT'S HERBAL TEA! Fresh mint is my favorite. Lemon Balm feels like you are drinking a spa (in a good way)

Below it is shown as hot tea and cold tea. 
For hot tea------
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 C FRESH HERBS
4 C HOT WATER (just barely boiling)

STEPS:
Steep in hot water for about 10 minutes, strain and drink. 
HOT LEMON BALM TEA
HOT LEMON BALM TEA
For cold tea----
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 C FRESH HERBS
4 C HOT WATER (just barely boiling)

STEPS:
Steep in hot water for about 10 minutes, strain into a glass jar, refrigerate and drink when cold.
COLD LEMON BALM TEA
COLD LEMON BALM TEA


THAI BASIL = THAI BASIL PESTO

Often I have made "regular" pesto, but figured the ingredients should change up a bit when using Thai Basil. A quick search online lead me to a few different sites with recipes. Using my own cooking and chemistry skills I put together this version:

INGREDIENTS: (yeilds 1/2c)

2 C THAI BASIL
1//2 C DRY ROASTED PEANUTS
2-4 CLOVES GARLIC (depends on your taste)
1 T FISH SAUCE
1 1/2 T DARK SESAME OIL
1 t CRUSHED RED PEPPER
1 t SUGAR
1 T RICE WINE VINEGAR

STEPS:
- Pick every stem off of basil and wash. This is labor intensive but worth it. 
- Combine all ingredients except for oil in food processor or blender. Blend until finely chopped.
- Keep blending and slowly add in oil until it becomes paste like. 
More oil can be added if necessary to get to this consistency.
- Store in a glass jar and refrigerate or eat immediately
Thai Basil Pesto ,Homemade, Artisinal, DIY, kitchen hacks

Thai Basil Pesto ,Homemade, Artisinal, DIY, kitchen hacks
AFRICAN BASIL = AFRICAN BASIL INFUSED OIL
This is the easiest of all. The only time consuming part is waiting for the oil to become infused. 
INGREDIENTS:
Herbs (Basil)
Olive Oil
Glass jar 
STEPS:
Wash and completely dry herbs
Place herbs in clean jar
Pour in olive oil and seal bottle.
Store in cool, dry place for 1 week
If using fresh herbs it is recommended to store in refrigerator and use within a week. Infused oils will last longer if herbs are dried.

The same steps can be used to infuse in alcohol such as Vodka or Gin. Though fresh herbs can last for much longer in alcohol. So consider making an infused herbal Vodka for the upcoming holidays!
Basil Infused Oil_Infusions_DIY_Kitchen Hacks_Brooklyn Artisinal

Basil Infused Oil_Infusions_DIY_Kitchen Hacks_Brooklyn Artisinal
This little guy made it all the way from Louisiana in the Basil. This is how you know my dad's garden is organic. This is also why you must thoroughly clean all of your basil before blending it into pesto!!!  Thank god my sister was here to help me deal. I might have screamed a little when I saw this. I guess I've been out of the country for too long and/ or my hormones are out of control

SPECIAL THANKS TO MY DAD FOR THE GREAT PRODUCE AND MY SISTER FOR THE HOURS SPENT PICKING EVERY STEM OFF. XOXO