Do you know what the best things to do with your basil flowers are? Although most people know that basil flowers are edible, not everyone knows how to make the best out of them, and that, my friend, is about to change.
In today’s post, I’ll guide you through multiple uses for these elegant flowers, from making herbal-flavored oils to brewing tea and even perfuming your room. I assure you that you’ll be pleasantly surprised at their exceptional versatility!
Many people think of basil flowers as a bad sign since flowering herb means that the leaves will start to lose flavor. For me, though, I’d love to think of these flowers as an opportunity to give the following ideas a try!
1. Make Basil Flower Vinegar
Infusing vinegar with some basil flowers is an incredible way to enhance this condiment’s flavor. While some people might find basil flowers a little too pungent to enjoy, its peppery notes make an excellent addition to vinegar.
You can use basil flower vinegar instead of regular vinegar in summer salads, sauces, and many dishes that use basil for an extra kick of flavor. It’ll taste especially delicious with tomatoes, capsicum, and other Mediterranean dishes.
Basil flower vinegar is surprisingly easy to make and only requires two ingredients: basil flowers and, well, vinegar. White or red wine vinegar works best for this recipe as they are mild enough for the flowers’ flavor to shine through.
- Basil flowers head: 8
- Red or white wine vinegar: 2 cups
- 16-ounce glass bottle: 1
For the best tasting vinegar, you’ll need to let the flowers submerged in vinegar for at least 7 days. Be patient; all the waiting will be worth it in the end!
Cut the basil flowers from the plant with sharp scissors or secateurs. Remember to snip off the whole stem, not just the flowers.
Rise the flowers in clean water, then gently pat them dry using paper towels. Don’t rush, as you can accidentally crush your flowers.
Start with putting the flowers into a 16-ounce glass bottle. Next, fill it with the highest-quality vinegar you have and seal the bottle. Place the bottle in a cool and dark place, and let the flowers do their job for 1 to 3 weeks.
Your vinegar should be pale yellow at this point. Remove the flowers by pouring the vinegar through a strainer into a clean jug, then transfer them back to the glass bottle. Store it in a cool and dark place and enjoy it however you like!
2. Infuse Your Olive Oil With Basil Flower
In addition to vinegar, you can also infuse your olive oil with a little basil flower’s flavor. The process is just as simple, and you’ll be rewarded with a unique tasting oil that you can use daily as a salad dressing or add to your favorite dish.
The necessary ingredients are basically similar to the basil flower vinegar recipe above. You just have to replace vinegar with olive oil.
- Basil flowers
- Olive oil
- A small glass jar
While you can make basil flower vinegar in just 7 days, it’s recommended to let the flowers sit in the oil for at least 1 month.
Follow steps 1 and 2 in the recipe above. Take extra care in drying the flowers as they can cause the oil to go mold if there’s still leftover water on them.
Put the flowers in a jar and fill it with olive oil. Make sure that the flowers are fully submerged. Secure the lid and let it rest in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks.
Strain the oil using the above method and enjoy your basil flower-infused olive oil. Bon appétit!
Apart from basil flowers, you can also add some basil leaves or other herbs to make the oil more flavorsome. 1 basil flower and 3 small basil leaves are usually enough to infuse a small jar of olive oil.
Olive oil and basil flowers together? Why not!
3. Dry Your Basil Flowers
Drying is one of the best ways to store and “safeguard” your fresh basil. You can use the dried flowers for brewing tea or add to your salad just as you usually would with fresh flowers. Here’s a simple way to dry basil flowers.
Cut the flowers off the plant at the connecting point between them and the stems. Remember to clip every flower you find.
Make bunches of 3 to 4 flowers. Bind the flowers together at their bases using a rubber band.
You can use a paper clip to make the hook for your basil flowers. Simply unfold a paper clip and bend it into an “S” shape. Make 1 hook for every bunch of flowers.
Hook the rubber band onto the paper clip, then hang your flowers upside down in a dry and warm location. After 3-4 days, check to see if the flowers have sufficiently dried. They should be crispy and dry when touched.
Transfer your dry basil flowers to a closed-lid glass jar or plastic container, then place them in a dry, cool, and dark place. When stored correctly, they can last for about 2-3 years.
- In addition to the traditional drying method above, you can also dry basil (leaves or flowers) using the oven or a dehydrator.
- You can enhance the flavor of your dry basil flowers by crushing them together with basil leaves. This way, you’ll have for yourself a tasty basil blend that works great as a seasoning in many recipes.
A quick guide to oven-drying basil leaves (you can apply the same method to your flowers!)
4. Brew Basil Flower Tea
Everyone loves a cup of soothing tea imbued with herbal flavors. While basil leaves are the more conventional choice, you can also utilize basil flowers to brew tea. “But how?” you might ask. Well, making basil flower tea might be much easier than you think.
All you need to do is add some basil flowers (fresh or dried) to a teapot or cup, then pour freshly boiled water on top. Wait for 3-4 minutes, then strain off the flowers and enjoy!
In addition, you can also make a larger batch and refrigerate it for later use.
5. Sprinkle Some On Your Salad
In case you haven’t noticed, basil is a classic ingredient in salad dishes. The sweet, somewhat minty, and anise-like flavor profile of basil makes for an excellent pairing with many veggies (especially tomatoes) and fruit salad.
Try sprinkling some basil flowers on any salad you’d like, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised! Note that the flavor of basil flowers will be a bit milder than the leaves.
6. Add Basil Flower To Tomato Sauce
How about giving your tomato sauce a “touch-up” with some basil flowers’ presence? Much like the leaves, basil flowers make for a welcome addition to most tomato-based sauces. Just a few clusters of these edible flowers is enough to take your condiment to a new level.
If you’ve been infusing your tomato sauce with basil leaves this whole time, give basil flowers a try! When using dried flowers, remember to add them at the beginning of cooking. On the other hand, fresh flowers should be added near the end.
7. Make Basil Flower Flavored Salt
Much as I love basil, I have to admit that it’s not a good idea to blindly add them to any recipe. But do you know what ingredient goes with every recipe? Yes, you’re right. It’s salt! If you can’t get enough of these herbs’ unique flavor, basil salt is the answer.
For making basil salt, you can use either the flowers or leaves or, better yet, both of them. Apart from basil, this recipe is applicable to any type of edible herb.
- Basil flowers (and leaves): 2 cups
- Coarse Kosher salt (or sea salt): ½ cup
- Food processor
Before getting into the main steps, remember to wash and pat the flowers as dry as you can. Since salt is great at absorbing moisture, you don’t want the excess liquid to get to it.
Mix the salt and the flowers using a food processor for about 10 seconds or until roughly chopped.
Spread the salt mixture evenly on a baking sheet and dry them in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes. At about the 15-minute mark, stir the salt a little bit. You can add another 10 minutes in the oven if the mixture hasn’t completely dried after half an hour.
Once dried, allow the salt to cool down, then throw it back to the food processor for one last whirl. Blend until there are no clumps left and you’re done! Store the herbed salt in an air-tight jar.
A simple way to make herb-flavored salt (any herb will do!).
8. Use Them In Pesto
This basil pesto recipe is the perfect solution if you’re having trouble using up your basil. Save the stems and leaves for other recipes, as basil flowers are especially great for making pesto.
In addition to fragrance herbs, you’d also want some pine nuts’ earthiness to complete the flavor.
- Pine nuts: ¾ cup
- Basi flowers: 3 ½ cups
- Garlic (peeled and chopped): 4 cloves
- Salt: ½ teaspoon
- Extra virgin olive oil: ½ cup
- Parmesan cheese: ¼ cup
- Food processor
Have you gathered all the required ingredients? If the answer is yes, then let’s get cooking.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the pine nuts on it. Roast them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-8 minutes (or until golden brown).
Add every ingredient except for the cheese and olive oil into a food processor. Blend them until well mixed, reduce the processor speed to low, and add the remaining ingredients. Pulse until everything is combined.
Pair your pesto with pasta, bruschetta, pizza, pasta, and many more!
9. Make Basil Flower Essence
If you don’t know what basil flower essence is, let me explain. Basically, flower essence is water that has absorbed basil’s exceptional properties, including energizing and antibacterial.
You can use basil flower essence for plenty of purposes. Many people add this floral-infused water to their bathwater, rub it on chakra points, or spray it on pillows for better sleep. Others prefer taking it orally (3-4 drops each time, about 3 times a day).
The best thing about basil flower essence is you can easily make it with just some freshly cut basil flowers and distilled water!
- Basil flowers
- Distilled water
- A clear glass bowl
- Brandy (for long-term storage)
- Storage bottle (preferably a dark, amber one)
First and foremost, pick a sunny day to make basil flower essence since sunlight is an “essential” part of the process.
Fill a clear glass bowl with distilled water add freshly chopped basil flowers. Gently stir the water.
Place the bowl under sunlight and next to a basil plant (if possible) for a few hours. Make sure that nothing touches the water.
After a few hours, use another basil flower stalk to remove the cut flowers. Your essence is now done! You can use it instantly or preserve it by adding brandy and transferring it to a dark and amber bottle.
10. Perfume Your Room With Basil Potpourri
Are any fans of potpourri here? For people who are not familiar with the term “potpourri”, it is a mixture of dried leaves and petals from various fragrant plants and flowers. Having a potpourri in your room will give it a soothing floral scent.
When making potpourri, don’t limit yourself to just one basil cultivar)! Genovese basil, holy basil, lime basil, blue basil, chocolate basil, and spicy bush basil are all excellent types to use (and that’s just to name a few).
As for other kinds of flowers, go for the ones with prominent scents such as roses, lily, and lavender. Basically, any kind of flower that you’d like will work!
- Flowers (any type)
- Basil flowers (any type)
- Essential oils
- Citrus fruits
- Fresh herbs
- Whole spices
- Spray bottle
The first step of making any potpourri is to dry the flowers so as to keep them fragrant for a longer time.
Gather all the flowers, herbs, and whole spices you’d like to use in the potpourri on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Mix 1 tablespoon of water and 10-15 drops of essential oil and spray it on the aromatic combination.
Oven-dry the flowers at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 2 hours. Make sure that you don’t accidentally burn them. Once dried, remove your flowers mixture from the oven and spray them with essential oil one more time.
Allow the flowers to cool down to room temperature, then mix them gently and transfer them to a small satchel or a bowl. Your aromatic potpourri is now completed!
Learn more about fascinating basil varieties!
11. Enjoy Basil Flower-Infused Water
Need a simple-to-make and refreshing drink for hot summer days? Basil flower-infused water is the answer. Don’t confuse it with the essence above since they are generally used differently (I mean, you don’t want to drink your essence as a beverage).
To make your infused water more flavorsome, don’t hesitate to combine basil flower with other fruits and herbs such as edible rose, berries, peach, mint, etc. I’ll be using a combination of fresh berries and basil flowers, but feel free to create your own infusion!
- Basi flowers: 1 handful
- Fresh berries (any combination of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or strawberries): ½ cup
- Edible dried roses: 2 tablespoon
- Maple syrup (optional): ½ tablespoon
- Jar or infuser bottle
The making of this drink is as straightforward as it gets! Simply add all the ingredients to a jar, then fill it with water. Allow the water to rest for at least 30 minutes, then strain out the herbs and fruit and enjoy!
- If you’re using an infuser bottle, you can leave out the straining part.
- Make the best use of your herbs by refilling the bottle when you’ve run out of water!
- Other commonly used fruits and herbs combinations include rosemary and grapefruit, cucumber and lemon verbena, mint and pineapple, blackberries, ginger, and orange.
12. Put The Flowers On Display
Last but not least, try using your basil flowers to decorate your room. These fragrant purple (or white) flowers makes a wonderful addition to any flower bouquets. You can also leave the flowers to grow on the plant so they can get pollinated, then collect the basil seeds.
Keep in mind that basil leaves’ flavor will decrease and even become more bitter when the plant begins flowering. So you should harvest them as soon as you see some flowers.
Check out these 5 herbs that you can pair with basil flowers!
If there’s more you want to know about basil flowers, don’t miss this informative FAQs section!
Flowering herbs kind of have a bad rap for being tasteless, bitter, and even inedible. However, for basil, you can use its flowers for multiple purposes. The next time you see your basil flowering, make sure to utilize these beautiful flowers to the fullest!
What do you usually do with your basil flowers? Share some of your excellent ideas with other readers in the comment section and me. While you’re at it, why don’t you like this article and share it with your other “herb-lover” friends?
Table of Contents
- 12 Wonderful Ideas For Your Basil Flowers
- 1. Make Basil Flower Vinegar
- 2. Infuse Your Olive Oil With Basil Flower
- 3. Dry Your Basil Flowers
- 4. Brew Basil Flower Tea
- 5. Sprinkle Some On Your Salad
- 6. Add Basil Flower To Tomato Sauce
- 7. Make Basil Flower Flavored Salt
- 8. Use Them In Pesto
- 9. Make Basil Flower Essence
- 10. Perfume Your Room With Basil Potpourri
- 11. Enjoy Basil Flower-Infused Water
- 12. Put The Flowers On Display
- Don’t Waste Your Basil Flowers!