Basil is one of our favorite summer flavors, and this time of year, home gardens are overflowing with it. Megan Sullivan of The Local Moms Network has shared her favorite ways to use the basil in her own home garden in Greenwich, CT.
We love pesto because it can be used on so many things! We use it fresh over tomatoes and mozzarella, baked on top of a fresh white fish (think halibut or sword fish), over a fresh baguette or even on top of eggs!
2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts (this is optional! You don’t need to use this if you have a nut allergy or sensitivity)
3 large cloves garlic
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Combine basil leaves, pine nuts or walnuts and garlic in a Vitamix or food processor and process until very finely minced.
With the machine running slowly lightly pour in the olive oil and combine until smooth.
Add the cheese and combine very briefly. Store mixture in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
2. Basil Water
With all this summer heat it is hard to stay hydrated. My favorite combo is to take a 32oz Mason Ball Jar and fill it with filtered water, fresh cucumber, basil and limes—it’s so tasty I drink twice as much!
3. Infused Olive Oil
This takes only a minute and lasts for a week or two!
Easy Instructions: Grab a handful of basil and place in a blender with the olive oil. Puree until smooth. Pour mixture into a large saucepan or skillet and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a sterilized airtight jar or bottle. Make sure you store in a cool dark spot!
4. Salads & Veggies
Basil goes perfectly with a wide variety of seasonal veggies. Just chop and toss into your favorite salad or on a pan of roasted veggies.
5. Cocktails – (best for last!)
Cucumber, Basil & Gin Cocktail
12 oz vodka or gin
1 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh basil
1 cup fresh frozen limeade
1 lime for garnish
1 bottle sparkling water
Blend 1 and 1/2 of a fresh cucumber, fresh lime & lemon juice in a Vitamix or blender.
Mix in gin and fresh basil leaves and pour mixture into ice-filled cocktail glasses, filling each glass about halfway.
Top with sparkling water, enjoy with sliced cucumbers and lime slices and serve!
This story originally appeared on The Local Moms Network.