Fresh Genovese Basil growing Fall 2013 under the old oak tree in our yard
This time of year I am busy making pesto for winter eating. I feel city lots are a great place to grow your own basil for pesto. We grow the fresh Geneovese Basil from Italy, and Music Garlic each summer. The garlic was harvested in June.
I always start with Genovese Basil which makes according to the experts, the best pesto. Sometimes I will add Lemon Basil to some of my batches.
It all started about 7 yrs ago when I first grew a bed of basil. I had a surplus and was wondering what I could make with all my extra basil. I decided to try making fresh pesto sauce. That September we started eating fresh pesto from our Urban Potager. It was a busy fall, and I never did get some put away for later eating. In the winter, I decided to try some pesto from the grocery store. I purchased several, and they were all HORRIBLE! There was only one type that I found pleasant, but a bit too oily and it cost over $5.00 for a 2 oz jar! There was no way I would be paying that price for something I could grow so easily in our own yard.
I always grow Music Garlic since it has beautiful scapes and grows well in our zone 5 garden. I feel the garlic is the key to the best tasting pesto! After growing a variety of garlic over the years, I settled on Music Garlic, which is a mild flavored, hard necked midseason producer. It produces a lot of garlic so once you plant your first garlic bulbs you will never have to purchase anymore bulbs. It produces large bulbs that are great to cook with and I enjoy the flavor of this garlic in pesto. I feel what makes great pesto is a good basil and flavorful garlic. We prefer to make our pesto with almonds due to the high cost with Pine nuts.
I had read a few places you can freeze pesto, so I gave it a try…..now during the winter months of December to March I have fresh pesto each week. I will be busy the next few weeks putting up pesto.
This is some Lemon Pesto. I did not grow any Lemon Basil this fall, but it does make a great tasting basil, too. Lemon Basil also makes a great tea.
Here is our recipe,
2 cups Fresh Genovese Basil/Lemon Basil
2 cloves of fresh Garlic ( hopefully one you grew!)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* We use Almonds due to the high cost of pine nuts
I use my magic bullet. I put garlic in first, washed basil, cheese and virgin olive oil. I add nuts last, and it seems to work well for me. I like eating it fresh from the garden!