Growing & using Sweet Basil
Basils make superb container plants and need about two gallons of soil per season. Basils grown in containers should be fertilized with an organic fertilizer often.
Allowing enough space for each plant and fertilizing regularly will provide the optimum amount of growth. Flowers should be kept cut back. If you have a long growing season, consider a second start of basil about six weeks after your first crop goes in.
It takes a lot of Sweet Basil to make our favorite, but it is definitely worth it!
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 3-5 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 cups fresh Basil packed
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup pinenuts
- 3 tablespoons Romano cheese (or more Parmesan)
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
Run all the ingredients together in a food processor just until smooth. Or, if you want the very best pesto, mash this in a mortar and pestle. The word Pesto is actually derived from the word pestle and which is how Pesto was first made, by crushing all the ingredients together in a mortar and pestle.
This makes enough for one pound of pasta. To serve, the pasta should be drained, returned to the pot and the Pesto added while the pasta is still hot. Mix thoroughly.
If you would like to make more than one batch of Pesto at a time. A convenient way to preserve Pesto is to freeze small amounts in pint size freezer bags. Press all the air out and smooth the bag out flat and then stack one on top of the other in the freezer.
To use, let thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter; it doesn’t take long. Pesto makes a wonderful spread for sourdough bread with a fresh slice of tomato on top or use as a gourmet coating for popcorn.
For more on growing, harvesting and using Basil, be sure to read BASIL: The Crowning Jewel of Summer.
For more fun and recipes using basil, visit our Basil pinterest page..
Sweet Basil makes a great addition to our Small Space Herb Garden Six Pack.
This plant is sometimes available in plug trays. These trays hold 128 of all the same plant. They are a great low cost way to fill a lot of space. Each cell is 3/4 of inch by an inch. Check here to see if Sweet Basil Plug Trays are available.