Thursday, September 29, 2011

Basil Lemonade & How to preserve basil

Last time we went to the grocery store, I found hydroponic basil plants. I had been wanting to grow my own basil for awhile, but never got around to getting seeds, soil, pots, etc. (I hear it's quite easy to grow your own at home.) I got the plant, brought it home, and put it in a can of water. I wanted to see how long it would last.



But by the very next morning, my basil plant was wilting. It was looking sad. I put it near the window to get some sun, but it didn't seem to help. I read online that you should store it in a moist environment, like a plastic bag with holes poked in it.



That didn't help either. As the day went on, my basil plant wilted more and more. I didn't want my fresh basil to go to waste! So I looked online and found that you can preserve basil in salt.



So I picked off all the leaves that had already started to decay and wilt, and put the rest in a plastic container between layers of salt.



Stuck it in the fridge, and we'll see how they keep! They're supposed to last 6-9 months packed in salt in the refrigerator.



With my already-wilted leaves, I decided to make a quick basil lemonade recipe.



Since I had about 1 cup of basil leaves instead of the recipe's called-for 1/2 cup, I doubled the recipe.



Basil Lemonade Double-Batch Recipe
makes about 2 quarts
You'll need:
  • 1 cup of lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 cups water (or about one of those 64 oz / 2 qt pitchers filled with water)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used the juice of a lemon supplemented with ReaLemon juice)
In a bowl or measuring cup, combine basil leaves and sugar. Crush leaves and sugar with a wooden spoon until leaves are fully shredded and incorporated into the sugar (sugar will turn green).



In your pitcher, add basily sugar to the water. Add lemon juice. Stir until the sugar dissolves.



Strain through pitcher lid and serve over ice.



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I thought the chunks of basil were kind of big in my lemonade, so I tried to blend it in a blender to chop them up. It didn't really work. The strainer on the pitcher helps to keep some out of your drink, but if you just let the drink sit a few minutes, the big chunks of basil will sink to the bottom.

It might help to make this as a slushy, with ground up ice, to mask the basil chunks. The taste of this lemonade is quite refreshing, and is best cold. I imagine it would be fantastic in the middle of summer.

Since it reminded me of a mojito, this basil lemonade would probably also go well with vodka or rum :)

2 comments:

  1. VERY awesome...that looks great!!

    I've grown basil at home, and it is quite easy. :D Of course, the first time my mom tried it, she killed the plant by failing to even realize that it needed to be watered... -.-

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  2. Lemme just comment here, a year later, and say that because of this basil lemonade, I can now pick out the scent and taste of basil in any dish. It's just so recognizable now! Weird.

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