Invigorate your taste buds by making tea from fresh basil, which gives you a burst of fresh-from-the garden flavor. The taste of this herb tea will vary depending on the type of basil you use to brew it. For example, sweet basil, typically used in Italian dishes, has a light clove-like flavor. Other options include lemon basil, Greek basil, Thai basil or holy basil, each with its own distinct taste.
Select the freshest basil possible. If you aren’t using it immediately, keep the plant or cuttings at room temperature; keep the stems or roots evenly moist, much as you would with fresh flowers.
Put a kettle or pot of water on the stove. Bring it to a boil over medium-high or high heat.
Separate the leaves you need to make the tea by snipping them away from the plant or stem with a sharp knife or scissors. Although you can make it stronger if desired, typically for every 1 cup of water you only need enough basil to make 2 tablespoons once it’s chopped. The number of leaves necessary depends on the sizes of the leaves.
Wash the leaves thoroughly under a strong stream of water. Alternatively, use a food-grade vegetable wash, being careful to avoid bruising the tender leaves.
Pat the basil leaves dry and cut them into small pieces. One of the easiest ways to do so is to chiffonade the basil — stack the leaves on top of one another, roll them, and then slice them into thin ribbons that can be cut into shorter pieces.
Place the cut basil into the bottom of a tea or coffee cup. Pour the boiling water over the leaves, and then cover the top of the cup with a saucer or lid.
Steep the fresh basil for 7 to 10 minutes. If you wish, strain the tea to remove the basil leaves from the bottom. Sweeten the tea with sugar, honey or agave to taste.
References and ResourcesRodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening; Fern Marshall Bradley and Barbara V. Ellis, Editors
Making Herbal Teas, Infusions and Decoctions; Robin Nelson-Shellenbarger
Cool Basil from Garden to Table; Katherine Hengel
20,000 Secrets of Tea; Victoria Zak
Real Simple: How to Select, Store, and Cook Summer Produce
The Kitchn: How to Chiffonade Fresh Basil Leaves