Basil is undoubtedly one of the most popular types of herbs out there. It’s used in everything from pasta sauce to salads to medicine. Needless to say, basil is an aromatic herb that receives quite a bit of attention. While fresh basil is obviously always the best option, it’s not always a convenient choice.
Imagine being elbow deep in pasta sauce only to find out that you don’t have any fresh basil, what would you do? Well, for starters, you would yell at your husband for forgetting the basil, again, and then you would grab a substitute.
But what if you have an entire bag of fresh basil and it’s about to go bad? Well, you would figure out how to dry it and use it that way. If you like to use basil frequently, then it’s important for you to learn how to make your own dried basil and how to use fresh basil before it goes bad.
Why Does Everyone Love Basil?
Thanks to the unforgettable flavor of basil, which is different in its dried and fresh forms, people go crazy for this versatile herb. While some people prefer fresh basil to accompany their favorite meals, others enjoy dried basil a whole lot more. When it comes to dried basil, there’s a higher potency of flavor and sweetness that people can’t ignore, which keeps them continuously coming back for more.
The Appeal of Fresh Basil
It goes without saying that a bit of fresh basil can bring a bunch of excitement to your recipe. And because it has a more mellow flavor than dried basil, you can use more of it. If you have to be thrifty with your fresh basil, then it’s recommended to use it in a salad, desserts, or even a cocktail.
The Appeal of Dried Basil
If you plan on using dried basil, then cooking with it would be your best bet. Cooking dried basil brings out all of the flavors that will keep your taste buds begging for more.
Dried Basil to Fresh Basil Conversions
What some people don’t understand is that dried basil isn’t equal to fresh basil in regards to measurements, so they end up using way too much or not enough. When you decide to use fresh basil instead of dried basil, you’ll want to use the conversion of 2 teaspoons of fresh basil is equivalent to one teaspoon of dried basil.
Great Recipes for Basil
Now that you have a better understanding of how and when to use fresh or dried basil, let’s look at some delicious recipes that call for the wonderful herb known as basil.
Lemon Basil Chicken
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ large yellow onion (finely chopped, 1 cup)
4 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 ½ pound boneless skinless chick breast (cut into ¾-inch pieces)
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
5 cups loosely packed baby spinach
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and pepper
Prepared brown rice
- Using a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once the pan is hot enough, add in the onion and cook until they’re softened, which should take about four minutes. Make sure to stir the onions frequently while cooking. Add in the garlic and cook until it’s nice and fragrant. This should take about 30 seconds to a minute.
- Add in the chicken. Increase the heat to medium-high. Let the chicken cook for three minutes. All sides of the chicken should be brown. Stir in the soy sauce and the black pepper. Let this cook until the chicken is cooked all the way through.
- Stir in the spinach, using a few handfuls at a time. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and the basil. Cook and stir until the basil is a bit wilted. Taste and season with salt and pepper until it has reached your desired taste. Serve warm with rice.
Lemon Basil Pie
1 package of 8-ounce reduced-fat cream cheese
1 can of 14-ounce fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
½ cup lime juice
2 large egg yolks
¼ cup minced fresh basil
1 reduced-fat graham cracker crust
Sweetened whipped cream
- Preheat oven to 325. Using a large bowl, beat cream cheese until it’s smooth and gradually beat in the milk. Add lime zest, juice, and egg yolks. Beat until it’s blended. Stir in basil and pour into the crust.
- Bake 15-18 minutes. Cool one hour on a wire rack. Refrigerate for two hours before stirring.
As you can clearly see, there is a wide variety of uses for fresh and dried basil. Depending on what you’re making and how you’re making it, basil could make an incredible accompaniment to the recipe! As long as you follow the conversions, you should have no problem drying and using your own basil!