Fresh basil is on of the easier things to grow in the garden. From my experience, very few insects are attracted to eat its savory leaves due to its strong flavor. I usually dehydrate enough to fill a bag to use as a spice, but I process most of it into pesto. Fresh pesto is great in the summertime, but it can be even more delicious in the middle of winter when you are ready for something green.
Here is a list of the ingredients:
1 1/2 cups fresh basil
1/3 cup oil
1 cup pine nuts or walnuts
2 to 3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese - Vegan option: 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast flakes
Step 1: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Submerge the basil in the boiling water for about 30 seconds.
Another option is to steam the basil leaves, again for 30 seconds. This is called blanching, a process which kills the enzymes that can cause your food to continue to mature, losing flavor and texture, even after the food has been frozen.
Step 2: Immediately remove and place the basil in ice water. This halts the cooking process and ideally will keep your basil and pesto green, preventing it from turning black.
Step 3: Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse. You want to keep some texture and avoid turning the mixture into mush, specifically the nuts.
Place spoonfuls of the pesto into the cube sections of an ice tray and freeze. Remove from the freezer and pop your pesto cubes into a freezer bag and store.
The small serving size makes it easy to get out just the amount you need for a meal. You can also drop a cube or two in a pot of spaghetti sauce for zesty flavor. Go Green!
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