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Thursday
May032012

Basil

Keep your fresh basil fresh by putting it in a jar of water, like cut flowers--don't refrigerate it!

We grow mostly Genovese basil, which is the kind traditionally used in pesto--it has plenty of flavor and aroma.  We also like lemon basil, lime basil, Thai basil, and holy basil.  The first two are nice mixed with genovese in a pesto; those two and holy basil are also good for tea (lemon basil is my favorite for summer iced tea).  Thai basil is used in Thai cooking, giving dishes that distinctive anise flavor. 

All that said, however, the main point of basil in our opinion is pesto, and Genovese is the kind to use.  Traditional recipes are easily found online, but here is our favorite version, tailored to our tastes and budget:

Getty's Creek Sunflower Pesto (vegan): Grind to a coarse paste in food processor: 2 cups fresh basil, leaves only; 1/2-3/4 c freshly toasted sunflower seeds; 3 cloves garlic; 3/4 c extra virgin olive oil; 1-2 T lemon juice; Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Stir into 1 pound of cooked, cooled pasta, or 2-3 pounds of boiled potatoes.

To Freeze Pesto:Make a "pesto" using only the basil, oil, and lemon juice.  Freeze in ice cube trays or muffin tins, then remove and store in freezer bags in freezer.  Add to pasta sauces or spread on pizza--or add nuts, cheese, and garlic to make regular pesto.  The frozen stuff will be a bit less green than it was--black on the outside of the cubes--but it tastes heavenly in the middle of winter.

Pesto Spread for Crackers:  Mix 1/2 cup thawed pesto with 1/2 cup ground nuts and salt to taste.