I love fresh herbs. Not only are they great for cooking, but they can be used for many other purposes as well such as being placed in bud vases, or using lavender for sachets.
Every year I plant a few herb gardens that always do extemely well. I have one planter exclusively for basil. Basil is my favorite herb. I love to use it in Brushetta, Caprese salads, and my favorite; pesto. My pesto recipe is simple and delicious and is requested time and time again. Toss with penne pasta topped with fresh grated parmesan cheese and dinner is served. Basil grows extremely well for me; so I always have it on hand in the summer. Before frost; I freeze batches of pesto so it can be enjoyed during the winter months.
The past few times I have been in the grocery store you can purchase basil for approximately $2.99 and once its gone its gone. If you enjoy basil, it is definitely beneficial to plant it in a planter or garden to have this delicious herb on hand. I usually buy my basil at my local nursery early in the season when the plant is still young. I can get several small pots for just a few dollars a piece and they will provide me with ample amount of basil. It grows well, and you can get stems upon stems of basil to enjoy all season long. If you can’t grow it; the best place I recommend to purchase it is at a local farmers market. In season, you can usually get a good amount for a decent price.
We just moved to our new home last fall. This year we wanted to plant our vegetable garden but with a rather wet spring we were unable to get to planting the garden. We definitely have plans to start our garden next season. Even though we didn’t get our vegetable garden in; I definitely made sure we could get our herb garden in. They do great in containers, and I have them in various locations around our patio. This years selection is Tarragon, Rosemary, Dill, Sage, Thyme, Oregano, Lavender, Cilantro and of course Basil. Having fresh herbs on hand this time of year to is a great item to have in the pantry. It is less costly than purchasing herbs at your local grocery store. Below is my go to Basil Pesto recipe.
JENNIFER’S BASIL PESTO
2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 large garlic cloves (if you aren’t a big fan of garlic you may want to only use 1)
1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I prefer fresh, but I have used just regular store bought parmesan and it was just as good)
1/4 cup pine nuts (best place to find pine nuts at the best price-Bulk food section. They can be rather expensive, but if you buy just a small amount in the bulk section you are better off)
1/2 cup Olive Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Combine the Basil, garlic, cheese, pine nuts in your food processor. Stream in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Process to desired consistancy. If you like not as think, just add a little more olive oil.
Add pesto to pasta of your choice. I like to serve with penne. I always have penne pasta in the pantry.
Grate parmesan cheese on top.
Serve with a tossed salad, and fresh bread.
Most of these items are usually items we already have on hand in our pantry and if you have basil in your garden whipping up a delicious weekday meal is a breeze and definitely much more budget friendly than purchasing premade pesto.
More herb tips, tricks and suggestions to come.