If you have a surplus of Basil in your home garden, dry them for a refreshing, homemade Basil Tea!
There is something calming about surrounding yourself with nature, I believe it is how we were meant to live. I read somewhere that it was when man decided to box himself up in wood and stone, cutting himself off from all things good and green that his troubles began. Did you know that it takes 17 trees to produce enough oxygen for one person and 20 trees to consume the CO2 we release? At the rate of deforestation for urbanization today, we are basically shooting ourselves in the foot (rather, face). And then there are imbeciles who do not believe in climate change….
I grew up in a house that was almost ‘buried’ in plants – Coconut trees, mangoes, flowers, ferns, fruits, herbs, cacti, succulents and more filled every inch of land surrounding the house all the way to the gate and spilled out into the streets. My dad spent every Sunday, from dawn to dusk tending to them and after he retired, every evening. I cannot imagine a life where I wake up and don’t see a leaf or a flower first thing in the morning.
Despite living in a tiny, yet cozy third floor apartment with windows that cannot be opened, I’ve still managed to fill every inch of space that catches sunlight with plants. And even though it is challenging some days, I’d have it no other way. Plus, it gives me a reason to recycle plastic into planters, so bonus yaay! I’ve got three harvests of green chillies from plants that were grown in a recycled plastic milk can! I’d have gotten more, but I’ve pruned the plants down for better yield next year.
Basil was one of the latest additions to my little apartment garden – I think I bought this plant a couple of months ago and my, my does it grow! I am slowly warming up to basil now, thanks to this Mango Basil Sorbet and Mango Basil Lemonade that I blissfully over dosed on this summer. But now summer is gone and I needed to find more cozier uses for this herb, which sadly doesn’t get much use in my kitchen.
Besides, the plant was getting a little leggy with disuse and desperately needed some pruning, so finally I gave in and gave it a proper haircut today. After I was done, I had a near bare plant and a ton of fresh basil. Normally, I’d have made some pesto, but I’m staying away from pasta for a while so this time, I decided to dry it to be turned into some comforting and soothing Basil Tea instead!
There are several ways of drying herbs for long-term storage, but the quickest way is to oven-dry them in the top rack at the lowest temperature. You’re not cooking them, rather gently dehydrating them. And sit back and enjoy the process because your house will smell absolutely heavenly while they’re in the oven, something you’ll miss out on if say, you were drying them out in the sun.
Once dry, let them cool completely before storing in a clean, dry airtight container. I crumble them a little for easier scooping, but that’s completely your choice. And now we make us some delicious Basil Tea!
You could either steep them as is, or add a scoop to your regular tea for an aromatic explosion of flavor. I’ve enjoyed it both ways, and I hope to discover many more uses for this Basil tea. I’ve seen people add milk to it, some add just honey, but I think I like it without either. It is refreshing, uplifting and absolutely comforting to sip on in the afternoons as I work.
I have a feeling that henceforth whenever I prune my basil, there’d be more chances of Basil tea than pesto! And with the cold days slowly creeping up on us, I guess gravitating towards warmth and all things cozy feels nearly inevitable.
Do you have a home garden? If you do, let me know what beautiful things you are growing there, and if you don’t, what are you waiting for? If I can do it, anyone can – a green thumb is simply a state of mind, find your inner zen and soon you will see that whatever you touch blooms. And every fruit you pick or flower you smell from a plant you nurtured brings with it a renewed vigor of hope that will in turn breathe new life into yours.
Say yes to life and plant a seed today (preferably a tree), we were meant to co-exist and flourish together as one. So lets.