Basil for Every Garden!

Basil is one of the most popular herbs grown in American gardens. A member of the mint family, basil is prized for its aromatic leaves that can be used fresh or dried.

Easy to grow, plant basil in a pot near your back door, in a kitchen garden (Thomas Jefferson had a kitchen garden at Monticello), or anywhere that you can provide full sun for most of the day. Soil should be moist, yet well drained; avoid heavy, poorly drained locations. Potted basil can be successfully grown using a potting or container mix.

Harvest basil leaves as you need them; this allows the plant to continue to produce new leaves until frost.  Pinch out the flower stalk when it appears; this encourages the plant to produce new leaves and not go to seed.

 

Uses: Pesto – presto! Use a food processor or blender and whip up a batch of fresh pesto; just a few common ingredients make this a summer favorite. A quick search on the computer will provide you with many recipes. Pesto can be used on pasta or crostini, in omelets, risotto, and more.

 

Did you know? There are different varieties to choose from – Thai basil, lemon basil, and of course the ever-popular Genovese variety.  And if you have too much basil… Freeze small batches of whole leaves in plastic bags or chop up basil leaves and then top off with a little water in ice cube trays. When you need them, just drop the cubes in your favorite recipe!