Storage and Preparation:
Basil should be stored with ends cut in a glass of water on your kitchen counter. For long term storage you can either make pesto or simply blend basil up in a food processor with enough olive oil to create a paste. This mixture can be frozen and you can use it in the winter for whatever you would like. Basil does not do well stored in the refrigerator.
Basil is excellent added fresh as an accent to many summer salads.
4 cups basil leaves
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup pine nuts (I also have substituted pumpkin seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds or pistachios in lieu of pine nuts)
1/2 cup Italian Parsley
1 teaspoon salt
½-1 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup Pecorino or Parmesan Cheese (I love to use Goat Parmesan when I can find it.)
Put the basil, garlic, pine nuts, parsley and salt into a food processor or blender with olive oil. Process by adding enough oil to make a smooth paste. Add the cheese and process a few seconds longer.
To Freeze: I put this mixture in ice cube trays. I freeze it and then take it out of the ice cube tray and store the basil cubes in a plastic zip-lock bag in the freezer. This gives me the appropriate proportions. Use a different ice cube tray than you would normally use for your ice (it will leave a scent on the tray).
Other Basil Recipe Ideas:
- Cucumber Salad with Basil puree makes a cool summer salad
- Salsa with finely chopped basil adds a lively flavor
- Lemon Basil in mojitos is excellent in place of mint