Aside: The word Basil comes from Greek, meaning "royal."
Basil. It's a truly wonderful thing. In fact, I often comment that I "should have planted more." No matter how much I plant, I always feel that way. Basil is a wonderfully fragrant herb and gives great flavor to dishes, and even better, can be used to make pesto. Pesto also has many uses, so basil is the herb that keeps on giving.
This year, when my garden was taken over by unnamed persons, I knew I should have lots of basil coming. I had planted a lot, it was a hot growing season (which basil loves) and I was already dreaming of pesto. Yes, readers, I dream about pesto. =)
One day, I inquired about the basil. This gardening novice knew nothing about frequent harvesting of basil, and had let it flower. Once it flowers, folks, it's the end of the basil. So, I took what was out there and ran inside to make some glorious pesto.
Aside: I have been known, on occasion to make people in my kitchen stop what they're doing and smell the pesto. I've just decided, "Stop and smell the pesto," is my new life motto.
If you look closely in the photo below, you can see the tiny white flowers at the top left.
When you are growing basil, pinch off the tops when it starts to get tall or show signs of flowering. You can also just pinch off a small amount if you need a bit for a recipe. It will continue to produce a lot more, until the weather turns cold. For now, you can buy basil at the store, or try your local nursery to see what herbs they have available in plant or seed form.
Food note: If you find yourself with too much basil, send it to me. Okay, but seriously. You can dry basil to save it by hanging it upside down and then crushing the leaves. However, I prefer to harvest it fresh, make a quick pesto, and then freeze that pesto. It freezes and defrosts beautifully and then you can have the taste of summer all year round. Below are two of my favorite recipes for pesto. Enjoy!
Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce
Grilled Veggie Pizza with Pesto