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 Genovese 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 gardens. 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 any more 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!