Basil, basil, basil

RecyclaNow that it’s July, the days are hot and humid, so the basil in Recycla’s garden is growing like crazy. This makes her very happy, as she loves adding fresh basil to pasta dishes and other Mediterranean-influenced foods.

basilRecycla has planted eight basil plants this year. That might like a lot, but she preserves most of her basil for the cold months and thus needs to harvest and preserve as much as she can in the next two months, when the nights start to get cooler and basil stops growing.

Oh sure, Recycla could buy basil at the grocery store, but she thinks that dried basil is an inferior substitute, plus she flat-out refuses to spend $5 or more on a small bunch of fresh basil when she grows it herself with almost no effort.  So every year she plants basil and literally reaps the benefits.

How does Recycla preserve her basil?  By making basil paste — here’s how:

  • Cut back your basil plants.  Don’t be afraid to be aggressive; they’ll rebound.
  • Wash the leaves thoroughly and remove stems.
  • Put up to four cups of leaves in your food processor, along with a tablespoon or two of good quality olive oil.
  • Pulse until the leaves are chopped to the consistency of pesto. Once chopped, four cups of leaves will be reduced to approximately one cup of basil paste.
  • Spoon into small containers or an ice cube tray and freeze.
  • Once frozen, store the basil paste in heavy duty freezer containers.
  • When ready to use, defrost and add to your favorite dishes.  Recycla uses basil paste in tomato sauces, on pasta, to make pesto, in soups, and more.

See? It couldn’t be any easier.

Tell the Eco Women: What is your favorite recipe with basil?

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3 thoughts on “Basil, basil, basil

  1. Last year I tried putting whole leaves in EVOO in a jar and used them during the year when the oil was welcome. I also layers whole, cleaned leaves with salt in a jar and those are still going strong!

    Being of half Italian descent, we use basil a lot: fresh in capreze salad with tomatoes and mozzarella slices, and in any sauce I make. My favorite is probably processed with EVOO, garlic, toasted pine nuts and a handful of reggiano into pesto sauce!

  2. I’ve frozen pesto in a similar way. I’m experimenting with drying my own herbs this year. I’ll let you know how it goes! At the least, my attic smells tasty.

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