Sometimes you just can’t keep up with Basil’s speedy growth habits and you have to keep harvesting it it will go to seed before you know it. So what is one to do with all the summer’s sweet basil? The answer is Pesto!
At the end of each growing season I actually feel a loss when the Basil decides it has had enough producing and cashes it in for the year! But during the summer months we get to enjoy its prolific leaves in abundance. However, you need to keep an eye on your basil and keep it from going to seed. Once that happens, the leaves become bitter and are no longer good to use in recipes.
The best part about making homemade Pesto is that it makes a lot and it freezes remarkably well, giving you the opportunity to enjoy its herbaceous flavor for months to come. I make sure to grow plenty of fresh genovese style basil so that I can make enough pesto to last through the winter.
Pesto is personal!
There are many, many pesto recipes out there which I originally found quite interesting because pesto only requires a handful of ingredients- how many variations could there be? Well, over time, I have learned that pesto is personal! You can take the exact same ingredients as someone else and the result can be astonishingly different. The freshness, the kind of basil, the quality, and the quantities all come together and produce a similar, yet notably different result. You have to make it yours, and make it just the way you like it.
I have tried many recipes over time and I continually come back to the one featured here. I occasionally I substitute the pignoli nuts for walnuts. The most important thing is to taste for seasoning and be sure to use the best quality ingredients that you can.
Homemade Pesto makes a great gift for neighbors and friends!” Freeze Pesto in small jars or ice cube trays
When tasting, keep in mind that your flavors will marry after sitting together after being blended, and that parmesan cheese is naturally salty so keep that in mind when adjusting your seasonings.
- After transferring the pesto to your storage containers of choice, top with a thin layer of olive oil, cover and store until ready to use. This will keep it from spoiling and keep the color bright green.
An important note about salt:
All salt is not created equal. The type of salt you cook with will absolutely impact your finished meal. If a recipe calls for 1 tbs kosher salt, which is what “better quality” recipes would assume you would be cooking with, and you use 1 tbs iodine salt then your final dish is likely to be way much more salty than the recipe intended. I only cook with Mortons Course Kosher Salt. Ever. That is why I can recommend it with confidence. Whatever you choose to cook with, be mindful and remember you can always put the salt in, but you can’t take the salt out!