Paradise Memorial Garden, Pueblo West

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What to do with all that Basil?

WHEN TO PICK BASIL:

Every time you cut back your basil, it comes back with a new found energy.  Instead of clipping off all the pretty little flowers, go ahead and cut back your basil stems a good ways down the stem, about three to four inches.   

HOW TO PREP YOUR BASIL FOR THE FREEZER:

Once picked, immediately pull all the leaves off the stems, wash and spin dry.   Fill the container of your food processor loosely with basil leaves and a nice little stream of olive oil.  Chop finely.  Turn out the chopped basil and stuff tightly using your fingers or the back of a spoon into ice cube trays.  Freeze overnight uncovered.  Once frozen, pop the "basil cubes" out of the trays and into ziploc bags for fresh basil all winter.

Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe




  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 1 cup

Basil pesto darkens when exposed to air, so to store, cover tightly with plastic wrap making sure the plastic is touching the top of the pesto and not allowing the pesto to have contact with air. The pesto will stay greener longer that way.


Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (can sub half the basil leaves with baby spinach)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (can sub chopped walnuts)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 teaspoons)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

NOTE:  To freeze, make your pesto without cheese and add it when you thaw your frozen pesto.  The pesto will blend better this way.