Do you like to grow your own herbs?
It does feel like it takes a while to kick off after being planted. The anticipation gets overwhelming you water, then wait, check the progress everyday you watch the tedious amounts the plant is producing and ask yourself is it all worth the bother. Then all of a sudden it’s out of control with more herbs than you can possibly use in a salad or cooking. Sound familiar?
Winter tends to be perfect for growing a herb patch as it’s not too hot and it grows quite quickly, so we need to think of creative ideas to use up the excess. Basil for example takes off like wild-fire and before you know it it turns to seed so it’s best to pick it before this happens. Some people freeze them and use in soups etc. though I tend to like herbs fresh and basil I find is one of them as it keeps the quality of flavour better, in saying that some herbs are brilliant to dry like rosemary, bay leaves and oregano and keeps well in the pantry for a good while so you have it on hand year round.
I picked a bucket load of basil the other day so the first thing I make is Basil Pesto what else. It uses a decent amount of leaves and keeps so well in a jar in the fridge. It’s brilliant in pasta, soups, meats, on bread as a topping or dip. It’s very versatile and flavour packed giving a boring dish plenty of flavour. I like making all different versions of pesto but basic basil always wins.
This recipe makes a good size jar you can half or double the recipe depending on how much basil you have to use. I suggest to use two smaller jars if you have a lot and use one at a time. Another tip would be to pour a little amount of olive oil on the top once in the jar to make a thin layer and do this each time after using it. This will help preserve the pesto and keep fresh.
Have a go at making it you will be addicted in no time, there is just no comparison to the bought stuff that lack and lose the freshness and flavour and are full of preservatives too.
Homemade Basil Pesto
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
6 cups basil leaves
200ml olive oil
3 tbsp grated Parmesan
Salt and Pepper
- Place pine nuts and garlic in a food processor or blender and lightly pulse until you have smooth consistency.
- Add Basil leaves and continue to pulse gradually add olive oil a little at a time whilst motor is still running. Blend until smooth.
- Stir through grated Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Store in an air tight jar in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
Note: tip pour a little amount of olive oil on the top once in the jar to make a thin layer and do this each time after using it. This will help preserve the pesto and keep fresh.