How to Harvest and Use Basil from Your Garden

Harvested basil
Basil has many uses in home-cooked meals.

Basil Tea:

Basil is a member of the mint family, and basil tea can be served after meals as a digestive aid.

To make fresh basil tea:

  • Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 tablespoons of fresh, chopped basil.
  • Steep for 5 minutes.
  • Sweeten with raw honey to taste.
Basil freezes well. (DepositPhotos)

A variety of basil known as Tulsi (or Holy Basil) is considered a sacred and healing herb in India, and Tulsi tea is a popular stress-relieving and health-promoting tonic.

Basil Fragrance:

You can also add dried basil to potpourri, sachets, and homemade cleaning products to give a fresh, clean scent.

How to Preserve Basil

To store Basil for later use:

Frozen Basil:

Freeze the fresh leaves by packing them tightly in an airtight container or plastic bag. Simply break off chunks as needed for garden-fresh flavor in recipes. You can also freeze basil and water in ice cubes for dropping into soups.

Dried Basil:

Fresh and dried basil in glass jar

Dry basil by hanging stems in bunches, or spreading leaves out on a tray, in a dark, well-ventilated room. Once the leaves are good and dry (about a week), you can crumble them into an airtight container.

Cooked in Recipes:

Nothing makes me happier than a winters’ worth of pesto sauce, neatly stacked in the freezer.
And if you also have too many tomatoes and garlic, then you’re really in business! Spend an afternoon making marinara, stewed tomatoes,
and soups for freezing or canning.

Further Information


  1. I have become a huge fan of pesto and this was my first year for growing basil. I am so happy that I came across your article on how to store and use this amazing plant. I can’t wait to make fresh olive oil and basil sauce for pasta, and many other ideas that you listed. I have moved my plants indoor and hope to use them all winter long and take them back outside next spring. Thank you again for the wonderful idea.

  2. LOVE LOVE basil!! I also have frozen basil in ice cube trays with olive oil instead of water, with a bit of chopped garlic……just add to soups, pasta or sauce…..YUMMY
    and last year, I came across a recipe for BASIL JAM! OMG!!!!! SOOOO yummy. I served it over a block of cream cheese, with raspberry jalapeno jam and stone wheat crackers!!! real pleasing to the eye at christmas!!! and oh so good!!!

  3. I’m looking for a recipe on how to make Basil cleaning products. I boiled some up, in hopes of using the water to rinse my laundry but it was reddish-brown in color and I was afraid that it would dye my sheets that color!
    Also looking for cleaning recipe that would use all the Rosemary I’ve got. Thanks!

  4. I made basil salt from the recipe that foodnetwork published a couple of years ago. I made one batch and was so pleased, that I made lots and gave away at Christmas time. I found that a little b/salt in you scrambled eggs,a dash in a salad. Just before serving fresh dried basil on top of you spaghetti sauce. When having guest for dinner, place some basil leaves on a paper towel and microwave 1/2 power for 3 minutes. The smell in the house is wonderful.

  5. This year, I grew basil more than ever. I put it in containers on my front covered porch, back deck and my vegetable garden in between my tomatoes. So lets just say, I have a lot of basil and its not going away, My favorite things to do with basil is pizza with my fresh tomatoes that I grow. Caprese salad, and pesto of course on my homemade baguettes, or even in some pasta . Yum Yum. I also make pesto and put it in ice cube trays and after they freeze, jut pop them out and put in freezer bags. Works wonderfully. Thanks for letting me share some ideas. I love yours.

  6. Pick leaves, stack them on top of each other till about 1/2″ thick. Then roll the bundle into a tight roll put in a freezer bag and use year long.

  7. I planted some Basil sweet seeds. I’m proud of myself, because this is the first time that I ever grown basil especially on the balcony of my apartment. This basil smells good and I can’t wait to try it in my food.

  8. Great article. My basil stems were getting too tall and bending over. Now i know what to do to prevent the stems from becoming too tall. The article is very helpful and informative.

  9. I just grew my very first plant… which is basil and it’s still alive lol got to say I am quite pleased with myself because I always killed every plant… however my sister is a pro with all plants after taking horticulture and working at a place that deals primarily with plants. I had her help at first lol but I am so so excited to see how big my basil has gotten. 😁 I’m also trying to grow tiger lilies.


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