I’m sure my coworkers tire of me talking about basil. It’s my favorite herb and I love how I’ve always been able to grow it fairly easily. If you haven’t given yourself the opportunity to grow basil yet, here are my top reasons:
- It’s easy. You can grow basil in a garden or in a pot
- It’s cheap. Basil sells for about $3 per bunch (20 leaves), which is expensive for just one recipe. Grow it yourself and save money.
- It’s healthy. The nutritional benefits are numerous, including providing anti-oxidants, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and iron. View more here. (I’m learning that God gave us all these healthy, yummy foods if we’ll just use them!)
- It’s versatile. Mix in a food processor or blender 20 leaves, 1 tbsp. pine nuts, 1/2 c. olive oil, 2 tbsp. parmesan cheese, salt, & pepper and you’ve got basil pesto.
- It’s freezable. I mix batches of my basil pesto and put them in ice cube trays. I pop the cubes out and put them in zip-top bags. I also submerge whole leaves in water and freeze it for a large ice cube of leaves to thaw and use later. I’ve read that you can do the same thing by submerging them in olive oil and freezing.
- It’s delicious!
My very favorite recipe is my Chicken with Basil Pesto. I also make a shrimp or chicken caprese that is delicious.
This year, my basil plants are taking off! I read that the best way to keep them growing is to trim a few leaves from each bunch at a time, leaving a couple to continue taking in sunlight, enabling the leaves to keep growing. In just a week, I’ve harvested over 120 leaves on my two plants. And that was after 80 leaves were already harvested the two weeks prior!
That being said, since I’m overflowing with basil, I’m on the lookout for recipes that call for fresh basil. Do you have any you can suggest?