Okay, but listen.
You don’t need to start from seed. You don’t need to become a farmer dyke overnight. You can absolutely just head to your grocery store and pick up a potted basil. They’re $5 at my Publix. A package of basil doesn’t cost much less than that, and when you use it up, it’s gone forever. And then you have to buy another one. But meanwhile you could have a pot of basil that just keeps on growing. It’ll pay for itself over and over!
Or, you don’t even have to go to a grocery store. You can go to a hardware store and into its garden center, which always smells to me like running errands with my mother. They’ve got lots of potted herbs. But I recommend basil, because it tends to be strong, resilient. You can keep your pot indoors or on your balcony or your fire escape or wherever you like, really. So long as it gets some water and some sunlight, it’ll thrive.
The thing about growing your own basil is that you’re going to consume a lot of basil. You gotta harvest it regularly to promote growth. But of all problems to have, doesn’t this one sound nice? Having just simply too goddamn much basil? The dream!
Think of all the things you could be making with basil. I made Taiwanese popcorn chicken with fried basil, and now I’m like…more things should be topped with fried basil! Just drop some leaves in some bubbling oil and watch them turn into dark shards of fragile green glass in a matter of seconds. Throw those shards on some instant ramen! And then eat it immediately before your basil glass loses its crunch!
Or, skip the frying process and just thinly slice basil into little ribbons to top your instant ramen, your pasta, your bean stew, your fried rice.
And on the topic of frozen things, you can make basil ice cream or lemon basil granita. You can also look at those recipes and suddenly remember that you still haven’t bought the KitchenAid stand mixer ice cream attachment, even though every three to four months you think about buying the KitchenAid stand mixer ice cream attachment.
Do you know how easy it is to make basil simple syrup?! Bring a cup of water to a boil, turn off the heat, and add anywhere between 1/4 cup and a whole cup of sugar (it depends how sweet you like it!), and stir it until the sugar dissolves. Then drop 10-15 basil leaves in there and let it steep for 10-15 minutes. Use it in cocktails or mocktails. Put what you don’t use in an airtight container and pop it in the fridge for next time.
Make a pesto!!!!!!!!!
Make tomato sauce!!!!!!
Make a pan pizza and DON’T put basil on it at first. But then when it’s completely done cooking, throw some fresh basil on top.
A delicious, lovely caprese salad — or caprese tower! — is not just something to be ordered in a restaurant! You can make these at home! You can make crostini and roast a whole head of garlic and then spread a layer of roasted garlic on each crostini and top them with tomato slices, fresh mozzarella slices, and leaves of basil and then drizzle everything with balsamic.
Your home is gonna smell real good.