Now you can make basil tea for an ice cold summertime refreshing drink. It has been 100° plus here in South Central Texas. We have basil growing on the farm in several areas. Most of it has bolted and gone to seed now due to the heat.
Basil is so easy to grow. We normally start basil in pots to sell. We plant some in our garden beds, but most of it gets purchased. We currently sell ten varieties of basil seeds. If you have not yet tried growing this useful herb, order some. We have lemon, lime, cinnamon, holy tulsi, several Italian varieties, one for Thai cooking and a spicy bush basil.
Basil repels rodents so it is good to have it growing all over. We have mice, gophers, and other nasty rodents out in the country.
Basil improves pollination to tomatoes by attracting bees. It also repels horn-worms, aphids, spider mites, white-flies, and mosquitoes. These qualities make it great for companion planting.
Of course, we all know that basil tastes good and gives a lot of flavor to many dishes. You can make your own pesto with it, add it to spaghetti and pizza sauces, and add it into stir fry recipes.
Now you can make a delicious and refreshing beverage with your own garden fresh basil leaves. Are you ready for the basil tea recipe? Let's go!
You will need:
2 cups freshly picked, clean basil leaves
7 cups cold water
Honey (Add to taste. Locally sourced honey is best because it can help with allergies but grocery store honey is fine.)
Lemon juice (Add to taste. Fresh squeezed is best but bottled is fine.)
Place two cups of packed, fresh, clean basil leaves in a half gallon Mason jar or other glass jar. A sun tea jar would be great.
Boil seven cups of fresh water in your tea kettle or in a saucepan.
Pour the boiling water into the jar over the basil leaves. Let the leaves steep in the hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. The longer the leaves are left in the water, the stronger the taste will be.
Now you need to strain the basil leaves out of the tea. Get another jar or pitcher. Put a mesh strainer on the top of the pitcher. Pour the tea into the jar. The strainer should catch all of the leaves. You can give the leaves to your chickens or you can put them in your compost bin. Either way, they won't go to waste.
Before the tea goes to room temperature, add some honey and lemon, a little at a time to the jar until it tastes just right to you. Pour it over ice and enjoy. So much refreshment from your garden!
Store your basil tea with honey and lemon in the refrigerator.
Last year, we dried basil leaves in our food dehydrator. We jarred some of those for later use. Then we ground some of the dried basil leaves up really fine and put those in spice jars to sell in our farm store. Finally, we put some fresh leaves in our oil extractor and we made basil essential oil to sell.
Basil is versatile and if you are on the fence about growing basil, let me encourage you to go ahead and grow some in your yard.
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