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(Image above: Yummy Pesto from www.asm.org.au)
I think basil has to be my favorite herb. It’s an extremely versatile ingredient, mixing well with pasta, tomatoes, potatoes, breads, cheese, salads, dressings, marinades, poultry, fish, steamed veggies, rice – the list keeps going! Not only does it taste great, but the color is outstanding. That rich, bold green will take any herb garden from looking drab to delightful or perk up a window box in an instant. If you’ve ever owned a basil plant, you also know that the fresh, aromatic smell is intoxicating. It makes me smile every time I get a waft of basil from my back yard, and here are a few ways I try to capture that basil happiness for winter!
For tips on drying, freezing, and pesto-ing basil, keep reading!
A bit overwhelmed by the amount of basil I harvested from my garden (it really went nuts this year!), I went searching different ways to use it. I’m a fan of dried basil for use in the colder months, but this year, I tried freezing it, as well.
Washing basil (or any herb) actually strips the leaves of their essential oils, thus diminishing the flavor. If I grew the basil myself, I don’t wash it at all. Washing basil also increases your drying time, but if you really want to do it, go for it. Just be sure to pat the stalks and leaves dry with a paper towel before starting the drying process.
Storing Dried Basil
One of the most obvious ways to use up a surplus of basil is make pesto! Here is the best recipe I’ve found. It’s super easy, and so good, you won’t even believe it!
Do you have a favorite basil recipe, or a pesto tip? Leave a comment below, or email me at email@example.com!
I love basil too! I grew it this summer and it practically took over everything else. When I make pesto, I use almonds. They’re cheaper than pine nuts, and they give off a nice flavor.
This looks delicious! I’ve never made my own pesto, before, and I’m eager to try this. I don’t know if I’ll ever make anything as divine as that baked brie and blueberries, though. SO good!
to veganize pesto, substitute extra nuts for the cheese, and add a dash of salt. yum!
Basil is brilliant.
We add raw garlic to our pesto and store it for a lot longer than a week, if we make a big enough batch that we don’t eat it all before then. It helps to have a layer of oil on top, since it keeps out the oxidation.
Try pesto as a tomato sauce substitute on pizza (if you make your own pizza… it’s a cinch to do, you should try if you don’t). Or use it as a dressing on tomato and fresh mozzarella salad. Or just eat it with a spoon, like I do. 😉
You can also freeze the pesto, but it’s best to leave out the cheese and only add that in when you’re ready to use it. It’s better to freeze in meal-sized amounts, too.
i love the idea of basil “ice” cubes!
Thanks for all of your tip, guys!
Rachel, I’ll have to try it with almonds.
Marlene, thanks for the vegan-izing!
Anna, I always add my garlic after, because I like big chunks! 🙂 Love the layer of oil tip – my basil did get a bit dis-colored in the fridge. I’ll add more oil next time!
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