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Add fresh basil in tea for a refreshing and nourishing lemon basil iced tea, naturally sweetened with honey. Such a perfect way to use that abundant basil harvest on a hot day!
My green thumb was on fire this year, and I managed to grow 10 basil plants from seed and have them all flourish! As a result, I’ve been discovering many ways to use basil in the kitchen. Did you see my basil pesto recipe? mmmmmm.
Basil in tea has been on repeat almost daily during the hot months of the year, and I am hooked! It is so delicious and nourishing.
You could also drink this tea hot, but while fresh basil is in abundance during the warm season – iced just seems the way to go.
Let me answer a few questions you might have about basil and basil in tea, and then I’ll walk you through my process for making it.
INGREDIENTS FOR BASIL ICED TEA
- FRESH BASIL – best straight from the garden or farmers market. But use what you can find! I prefer to ensure that no pesticides or herbicides have been sprayed on my basil that I consume.
- PURE HONEY – ours is from our own local bees, which makes it all the more yummy and adept for our bodies. And super rewarding!
- FRESH LEMON JUICE – you might say that a squeeze of fresh lemon juice is the “cherry on top” in this refreshing drink. You can have it without but the basil and lemon combo is delish!
- WATER – filtered and piping hot is best!
HOW TO GROW BASIL
Having had multiple bad experiences growing basil – and now one very successful crop, here is what I have learned about growing basil.
- Basil is great to start from seed! My own seedlings did better than any store bought plant I’ve bought in the past.
- Start with good soil with adequate drainage and topped with compost.
- Fertilize every other week with fish emulsion.
- Grow holy basil and sweet basil together for a wonderful variety with both medicinal and culinary benefits.
- Chickens love it! Protect the crop with a net of sorts.
HOW TO HARVEST BASIL
- Harvest frequently to encourage more growth and bushier plants all growing season long.
- Clip between the nodes, or between two sprouting basil leaves.
- Don’t clip down each plant smaller than 1/3 of its size.
- Wash and dry after harvest to rinse away bugs and dirt.
- Harvest before the basil flowers out, to avoid more bitter leaves. However, the flowering stems have the most flavor so if it does get to that point – add those to your tea too!
HOW TO STORE BASIL
After being washed, you can put the basil inside a ziplock bag with a moist paper towel. It will last for a week or two stored in the fridge this way. You can also dry the basil and store in glass jars away from direct heat or sunlight. It will store for up to a year this way.
BENEFITS OF BASIL
Learning about the benefits of basil is what tempted me to grow and consume as much as possible! Aside from being utterly delicious, it is very supportive to the digestive and nervous systems!
- helps relieve gas and stomach cramps (drink this with a hearty meal!).
- prevents and relieves nausea and vomiting.
- it is mildly sedative and can be helpful in treating nervous irritability, fatigue, depression, anxiety and insomnia.
- basil has antibacterial properties and the juice or a poultice of the fresh leaves relieves the itch and pain of insect bites and stings.
*Information found mostly from my favorite herbal book of all times – Medicinal Herbs by Rosemary Gladstar.
HOW TO MAKE BASIL ICED TEA
STEP 1: Pack a jar 1/3 full of washed, fresh basil leaves. Be sure to remove them from the stems.
STEP 2: Fill the jar full of hot boiling water. I love to use our tea kettle to prepare the hot water. You can make this in single serving jars, or go big with a half gallon jar and store the tea in the fridge for whenever you need a drink.
STEP 3: Give the contents of the jar a good stir, and cover with a linen tea towel while the infusion takes place. Let the basil infuse into the water for at least 20 minutes (the longer the better!).
*You can alternatively do a sun infusion and just let basil and room temperature water sit in the sun for hours. I need to try that to see if it tastes better with the magic of the sun!
STEP 4: Strain the basil from the warm water.
STEP 5: While the water is still warm, add the honey and fresh squeezed lemon juice. This way the honey will dissolve and incorporate better.
STEP 6: Stir it all together and let chill in the fridge.
STEP 7: When ready to serve, pour over ice and garnish with some basil stems. So very tasty and beautiful!
Let me know if you give this a try! And don’t be afraid to get creative!
WHAT HERBS CAN YOU USE FOR ICED TEA?
I’ve been enjoying iced tea with our fresh mint, lemon balm (perhaps my favorite right now), and even a combination of basil, peppermint and lemon balm. I need to try some lavender next. Whatever edible herb you can grow can likely be turned into iced tea. What have you tried?
Goodness, I’d take this drink over a sugery lemonade any day! So yummy! Go ahead and print this recipe for quick reference.
Happy tea drinking!
Basil Iced Tea Recipe
- fresh basil to fill 1/3 of your jar
- honey to taste
- fresh lemon juice to taste
- hot filtered water
- Pack a jar 1/3 full of washed, fresh basil leaves. Be sure to remove them from the stems.
- Fill the jar full of hot boiling water. I love to use our tea kettle to prepare the hot water. You can make this in single serving jars, or go big with a half gallon jar and store the tea in the fridge for whenever you need a drink.
- Give the contents of the jar a good stir, and cover with a linen tea towel while the infusion takes place. Let the basil infuse into the water for at least 20 minutes (the longer the better!).
- Strain the basil from the warm water.
- While the water is still warm, add the honey and fresh squeezed lemon juice to taste. This way the honey will dissolve and incorporate better. For a half gallon jar I did 1/2 of a lemon and about 1/4 cup honey.
- Stir it all together and let chill in the fridge.
- When ready to serve, pour over ice and garnish with some basil stems. So very tasty and beautiful!