Beautiful Basil Article - Allrecipes.com
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How to Buy, Use and Grow Basil

See how basil brings fresh summer flavor to pasta and other dishes.




Should I Use Fresh or Dried Basil?

With basil, fresh is best. Dried basil does not retain much flavor. And many recipes using basil, like pesto, require the fresh variety.

There are lots of varieties of basil popping up on shelves. Tey all have slightly different flavors. Use them interchangeably, and see which taste you prefer!

When Can I Get the Freshest Basil?

Basil is freshest and cheapest in the summer, but you can find fresh basil year-round. Look for bright, green leaves without any brown discoloration. You can sometimes buy "living basil," with the roots still attached--doesn't get fresher than that.

How Do I Use Basil?

Add chopped fresh basil in the last few seconds of cooking, or just before you serve. The basil flavor won't survive if you add it earlier in the cooking process.

How Do I Grow Basil?

It's easiest if you start with a plant, which a garden store will carry. Basil needs full sun, so gardeners often plant basil with their tomatoes (these two are a natural flavor match, too).

    Comments
    nnewsom 
    May 21, 2010 1:36 pm
    This is a "pistou" which is a pesto without pine nuts. A true pesto has lightly toasted pine nuts, basil, olive oil and parmesan cheese. Hope this helps! :)
     
    Jimi 
    Jun. 18, 2010 6:24 am
    I am new at gardening and have a lot to learn, I went to an auction and ended up with two flats of herbs. Now what do I do with them? I have some of them planted in my container garden and some on my window sills. I have recipes that call for "fresh basil or parsley and some calling for "dried" herbs. How do I dry them? Jimi
     
    Jun. 23, 2010 8:58 pm
    Straight basil pesto is too overpowering for me - what I've found is that if you do 3 parts arugula to one part basil, you get the nuttiness of the arugula and you can skip the pine nuts altogether. Delish!
     
    Lisa 
    Jul. 6, 2010 7:55 am
    Loving the ideas. Just planted my first herb garden and am putting to good use thanks to all recipes, I now know what to do with them....keep em coming and when I come up with my own variations, I will be sure to share.
     
    Jul. 21, 2010 7:18 am
    I grew tons of basil this yr. You can wash it, give it a rough chop, spread on cookie sheet & freeze. Then I use spatula to remove it and slide it into freezer bags. It's great to have in winter for making sauces, stews, etc.
     
    gtfoodfashion 
    Jul. 23, 2010 7:36 pm
    I love fresh basil--it's so good on its own if you oven-roast it with olive oil and salt. Here's a recipe with great pictures: 
http://whitebison.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/oven-roasted-basil-leaves-the-better-potato-chip/
     
    jlo 
    Aug. 18, 2010 1:35 pm
    Jimi - to dry herbs: just cut, wash & hang to dry. Then pick off the leaves and save.
     
    Aug. 27, 2010 5:17 pm
    jlo-What's the best way to store them once dried and how long should you store herbs b/4 replacing them
     
    Sep. 2, 2010 9:22 pm
    How do I keep my pesto from turning black? I've added lemon and did not add salt or cheese but it still gets black. I want it looking bright green when freshly made.
     
    TmR 
    Oct. 11, 2010 9:18 pm
    If you are wondering what to do with those herbs besides drying them, flavor aioli or mayonnaise, add to sour cream or yogurt for sauces, make herbed butters (can freeze these) & flavor olive oils! I use fresh herbs daily when in season.
     
    Sheilagwh 
    Nov. 6, 2010 12:35 pm
    I finally learned to keep the nice green color the pesto must be quickly stored in a zip bag with all the air squeezed out. I freeze it that way and just open the bag and break off as much as I need. Don't put much in a bag though - it should be less than ¼ inch thick in order to easily break.
     
    Jan. 27, 2011 6:28 pm
    I also love fresh Basil. My home in the woods does not have a window sunny enough to grow it in. So I grow Basil year round in my Aerogrow system. With my system I can grow 7 plants at a time. I keep many of my friends in fresh basil all winter long.
     
    Kathleen Miles 
    Aug. 3, 2011 10:26 pm
    nnusom....you forgot the garlic...I roast mine first so it won't be so sharp. I don't care for raw garlic.
     
    Sep. 9, 2011 3:55 pm
    When a recipe calls for raw garlic I turn to garlic paste. Amore brand is very good. I've ruined a few recipes using raw garlic that was just too strong. The paste gives you all the taste without the bitterness or acrid aftertaste.
     
    yulita 
    Sep. 9, 2011 9:23 pm
    I want to add to my green garden cause I live in tropical country, Bali and maybe it can grow here. But how to find the good one to start planting? Your idea would be a great solution!
     
    Sep. 11, 2011 6:24 am
    Yulita--they are very hardy plants. You can probably buy almost any! I have one plant that was just a tiny cutting I stuck in soil to see if anything would happen. That was only four months ago and it's about a foot tall and bushy! So good luck!
     
    stano 
    Feb. 27, 2012 5:39 am
    I also grow my own herbs,especially lots of basil and with the abundance I make a batch of basil pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays. When the cubes are frozen I put them in a freezer bag and add one or two to hot pasta or a spaghetti dish to enhance the flavors. If I'm making a small batch of pasta I only use one cube and then moisten with some of the pasta water.
     
    michelle 
    Apr. 22, 2012 12:04 pm
    Jimi, I dry fresh herbs in the microwave.Place clean dry herbs on a paper plate in a single layer, and start with 1 minute- if not dry enough do 30 seconds, and continue until they are crispy dry to the touch.good luck
     
    May 8, 2012 6:30 pm
    Just a couple of basil tips... 1. If you freeze pesto, put a layer of oil on top of the pesto before sealing the container; it will block the oxygen that turns it black. 2. If you are growing basil, it likes to be used. It grows bushier when you cut it. Wherever you cut a branch, 2 or 3 will grow; makes for a nice bushy plant with lots more leaves. I plant will have 4-6 sweet basil plants in my garden and have enough basil for all summer and then I make and freeze lots of pesto for the winter months.
     
    May 8, 2012 6:33 pm
    Just a couple of basil tips... 1. If you freeze pesto, put a layer of oil on top of the pesto before sealing the container; it will block the oxygen that turns it black. 2. If you are growing basil, it likes to be used. It grows bushier when you cut it. Wherever you cut a branch, 2 or 3 will grow; makes for a nice bushy plant with lots more leaves. I plant 4-6 sweet basil plants in my garden and have enough basil for all summer and then I make and freeze lots of pesto for the winter months.
     
    May 8, 2012 6:33 pm
    Just a couple of basil tips... 1. If you freeze pesto, put a layer of extra virgin olive oil on top of the pesto before sealing the container; it will block the oxygen that turns it black. 2. If you are growing basil, it likes to be used. It grows bushier when you cut it. Wherever you cut a branch, 2 or 3 will grow; makes for a nice bushy plant with lots more leaves. I plant 4-6 sweet basil plants in my garden and have enough basil for all summer and then I make and freeze lots of pesto for the winter months.
     
    djaj92 
    Jun. 11, 2012 7:25 am
    If you are only able to get cuts of fresh basil (a few stems with leaves on them) but you would like to keep them fresh for weeks, put the trimmings in a glass of water. Make sure that they leaves don't touch the water (or they will turn brown). Don't change out the water, but add water if it gets low. The trimmings will start growing roots. Once the roots are long enough, you can plant it!
     
    Jun. 11, 2012 10:58 am
    I love fresh basil in the summer months or year around for that matter. It has been painful to have some left at the end of the year and haven't always utilized it to the fullest. Pesto, while it entails some work is so worth it and onw can continue to enjoy in the winter months.
     
    jjadel 
    Jun. 25, 2012 12:04 pm
    I've tried so hard to grow fresh basil in my garden, but the earwigs like it too much! I've tried organic methods, diatomaceous earth, and organic pesticides but nothing works. I guess you'll have to ask the earwigs how they like the fresh basil because they aren't leaving any for me!
     
    Hightree Winery 
    Jun. 28, 2012 1:17 pm
    When I make pesto, I pour it straight from the food processor into ice cube trays. When frozen, I put the pesto cubes into freezer bags (you can fit a lot of cubes into each bag), and put into the freezer. Works great!
     
    Hightree Winery 
    Jun. 28, 2012 1:19 pm
    How does one make herb butter with basil?
     
    patty 
    Aug. 14, 2012 5:04 pm
    how do you store fresh basil? in the fridge or left out? thanks for your help!
     
     
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