Grow Your Own Basil And Make Your Own Fresh Pesto

Basil, the Herb of Love...

Basil originates from India, it has been around for thousands of years and has often been associated as a symbol of love. In Italy a man would place a sprig of Basil in his hair to win the heart of the woman he loved. Mexicans would place Basil in their pockets in hope of having their love returned forever and in Romania if a man gave you a shoot of Basil you would officially be engaged!

Grow For it!

Growing Basil from seeds is easy and plants can be kept indoors or placed outside from May onwards.

Fill each pot with compost and place seeds evenly spaced on the surface, then sprinkle a thin layer of compost over the seeds and water gently;

Pots can be covered with cling-film to keep the compost moist and aid germination, but this in not essential. Keep away from direct sunlight until the first seedlings appear. When the seedlings are well developed, usually after six weeks, they can be moved to a south facing window where they will need at least four hours of light per day.

TLC

Your Basil will enjoy damp soil conditions so water regularly from below to avoid getting leaves wet. Feed every few weeks with a liquid fertiliser. Pinch out leaves from the top as required.

Hey Pesto!

Pesto literally means 'pounded' in Italian and if you have a pestle and mortar use it as it will give your Basil Pesto a smoother taste and bring out the flavours of the various ingredients, if not a food processor can be used.

Ingredients:

Fresh Basil leaves

Freshly grated parmesan

Extra virgin olive oil

Pine nuts

Garlic clove

Salt and Black pepper

How to make it:

Lightly toast pine nuts for a few minutes or until their colour change

Place the garlic, salt, Basil leaves and olive oil into the pestle and mortar and pound

Add the toasted pine nuts and continue pounding

Turn into a bowl, stir in parmesan, add more olive oil to reach consistency desired

Season to taste

Eat Me!

Uses for Basil Pesto are many, mix it with pasta, use as a dip with crackers or as a tasty salad dressing ,the choice is yours, enjoy!