I love thee Basil

I love fresh basil. I think it’s the one herb that is most significantly different in fresh and dried forms. To take the best care of basil and ensure that it continues to produce, you must pinch off the flowers before they bloom. When I see my basil looking like its going to flower, I give it a good trim, cutting off more than just the buds so I wind up with a couple cups of basil that I have to use ASAP. These are the main ways I like to put that basil to work.

First I like to make these basil saver cubes. Sometimes I dry my basil, but I find these cubes are great for adding to or starting soups and sauces.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup basil, packed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided

 

Place basil and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in food processor until finely minced. Divide mix into 6 wells of an ice cube tray. Make the portions small so you have more control later when using the cubes. Press basil mix to the bottom of the well with a spatula and then add 1/2 tsp of oil to each well. This will help fill air pockets and make for a more preserved cube. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Once frozen, you can remove from the tray and store in a plastic bag in the freezer for future use.
Next, I like to make pesto. I have seen plenty of recipes for pesto and I am always shocked at how much oil and cheese they want you to use. There is really no need to add all those extra calories when this version tastes just as delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (others use 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese (others used 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tbsp roasted pine nuts
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • dash of salt

 

First, you are going to want to roast your pine nuts. Place pine nuts on a baking sheet in a flat layer and bake for 10 mins at 350°F. Add all ingredients to food processor and blend until your desired consistency. I like mine pretty smooth. If you don’t think you are going to be able to finish your pesto in 10 days or less, you can also make it into little saver cubes to take out when you need some.

 

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