For the Love of Basil

Herbs · Herbs · In the Garden · Spring Garden · Summer Garden

My basil after about a month of growth.

I’m sure my coworkers tire of me talking about basil. It’s my favorite herb and I love how I’ve always been able to grow it fairly easily.  If you haven’t given yourself the opportunity to grow basil yet, here are my top reasons:

  1. It’s easy. You can grow basil in a garden or in a pot
  2. It’s cheap. Basil sells for about $3 per bunch (20 leaves), which is expensive for just one recipe.  Grow it yourself and save money.
  3. It’s healthy.  The nutritional benefits are numerous, including providing anti-oxidants, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and iron. View more here.  (I’m learning that God gave us all these healthy, yummy foods if we’ll just use them!)
  4. It’s versatile.  Mix in a food processor or blender 20 leaves, 1 tbsp. pine nuts, 1/2 c. olive oil, 2 tbsp. parmesan cheese, salt, & pepper and you’ve got basil pesto.
  5. It’s freezable.  I mix batches of my basil pesto and put them in ice cube trays. I pop the cubes out and put them in zip-top bags. I also submerge whole leaves in water and freeze it for a large ice cube of leaves to thaw and use later. I’ve read that you can do the same thing by submerging them in olive oil and freezing.
  6. It’s delicious!

My very favorite recipe is my Chicken with Basil Pesto.  I also make a shrimp or chicken caprese that is delicious.

My basil shortly after I first planted it.

This year, my basil plants are taking off! I read that the best way to keep them growing is to trim a few leaves from each bunch at a time, leaving a couple to continue taking in sunlight, enabling the leaves to keep growing.  In just a week, I’ve harvested over 120 leaves on my two plants.  And that was after 80 leaves were already harvested the two weeks prior!

That being said, since I’m overflowing with basil, I’m on the lookout for recipes that call for fresh basil.  Do you have any you can suggest?

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  1. Yesterday we sauteed celery, carrots, onion and tomatoes (from our plant) and threw in some fresh basil (our garden), parsley (our garden), and garlic. and a sprinkle of fresh sea salt and squeeze from a lemon and it was a delicious snack!

  2. Ok, Jill, we just tried out your recepie. Delicious!! I also had a bag of hemp seeds (super food!) and threw it in with the pesto. tastes good and extra health benefits! Thank you

    1. I’ve only recently learned about hemp seeds. Did you use them instead of the pine nuts or in addition to them? I’m glad you liked the recipe. It’s my favorite!

  3. I didn’t have any pine nuts so used the hemp instead. The kids all seemed to enjoy dinner. We had the pesto over chicken and whole wheat linguine.

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