Sweet basil jelly
Try this delicious condiment with roast chicken or on a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich.
Rinse, drain, and coarsely tear enough unblemished basil leaves to make 1 1/2 cups lightly packed. Chop basil in a food processor, put in a large saucepan, and crush it well using the bottom of a glass or bottle. Add 2 cups of water and bring slowly to a boil; boil for 30 seconds. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain 1 1/2 cups of the basil liquid through a sieve into a saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar, a pinch of salt and 3 1/2 cups sugar and bring to a hard boil, stirring. When the boil can’t be stirred down, add 3 ounces liquid pectin. Return to a hard boil and boil for exactly 1 minute, then remove from heat. Skim off the foam and pour jelly into hot, sterilized jelly glasses, leaving 1/2 inch of headroom. Seal at once with melted paraffin or sterilized two-piece lids. Makes four 8-ounce glasses.
Flavored vinegars are practically effortless to create. Fill a fancy bottle with them and they make excellent housewarming gifts, too.
Pour two cups of white-wine vinegar into a large mason jar, add 8 to 10 fresh basil leaves, two cloves of garlic, and sliced peel from an orange. Place the jar in a dark, cool place for two weeks to allow flavors to develop. To use, strain vinegar through a sieve and store in a cruet or a clean mason jar. Use for salad dressings, marinades, or to drizzle lightly on vegetables, chicken, and fish.
Fix yourself this creamy, green, non-dairy smoothie with the aroma of sweet basil; it’s a snap to make. Serves one.
In a blender, add 3 frozen peeled-and-cubed kiwis, 1 frozen banana, juice from a pink grapefruit (about 3/4 cup), a handful of fresh basil leaves, and a few ice cubes. Blend until smooth, pour into a tall glass, and garnish with a basil leaf.