Too much Basil

master_rickster(S.FLA)July 26, 2005

I planted this little tiny basil plant here in Miami. And what happens? It grows like CRAZY.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgery

Is it okay to make pesto with older leaves? Or should they be only used for cooking? And can they be frozen?

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You're obviously doing something right! Basil can become quite a large plant, given the right conditions.

You can use the older leaves, or the younger leaves, but it's best to discard leaves which are withering, browning and dying. To a taste test and see what you prefer. The older leaves may have a more robust flavour.

Basil can be frozen successfully. I simply put mine into a plastic airtight container. Some people find that basil leaves may go black with freezing. I've never had it happen to me - if it does, the leaves can still be eaten - it's only the appearance which is affected. To prevent this happening, blanch the leaves briefly before freezing them.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 11:52PM
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mosesong(z5 KS)

Should I let the basil flower? My basil still remain one stalk instead of becoming bushy. It just grow taller with more leaves, doesn't get a whole lot of thick brunch coming out from the base.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 1:09PM
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Many people will tell you that if you allow basil to flower, it will cause a deterioration in the taste of the leaves. I've never noticed the slightest difference, and in fact my basils flower all year, from a very early (seedling) stage. I can remove the flowers one day, and next day it's covered with flowers again. I could spend my entire life removing basil flowers. Since I have other things in my life, I only do it when the plant begins to get top-heavy.

It does help to prune basil regularly to encourage a bushier growth. If you don't prune it, it does tend to get woody at the bottom, with sparse leaves. Since your plant is large, forget removing just the flowers - give the whole plant a regular hair-cut, removing about one-third of growth each time, and allowing it to grow back before repeating the process. Use some of the prunings to propagate new plants, as cuttings. Don't forget, you can eat the flowers. If you leave a few flowers on, they may well self-seed some new plants for you!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 5:56PM
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Good job! Go for pesto! older leaves as long as they aren't stringy are fine. Pesto can be frozen too.

I saw on a cooking show to freeze herbs in ice cube trays. Put the herb in the tray squares (you might pre chop), add water, and freeze. Then remove from try, put in a zip-lock freezer bag. Then when you want to add fresh herbs just toss an ice cube into whatever your cooking.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 6:04PM
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kublackbird(5, KS)

Too much Basil! Are you crazy--there's no such thing! I also had a ton of basil this year and I've been harvesting it and freezing it once every few weeks. I mix the basil in the blender with a little water (or olive oil) and then pour it into ice cube trays. Once the cubes freeze I've been putting them into freezer bags to save them. Some websites say you should blanch the basil first to keep it from blackening, but I've tried it blanched and not blanched and the finished cubes look about the same either way.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2005 at 3:49AM
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mosesong(z5 KS)

Thanks for the pruning tips. I will go back and trim them and propagate the cutting.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2005 at 11:18AM
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I LOVE the idea of freezing it in ice cubes. What a GREAT idea.

I've chopped down a whole plant and made a quart of Pesto. I've separated it into little plastic containers and frozen THEM.
Custom Tailor
I haven't tried to taste it unfrozen, but I expect it to be just fine.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 5:19PM
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prairie_love(z3/4 ND)

Great thread. I was just about to post almost the same question. I just froze 12 recipes worth of pesto - enough to last quite awhile, and have much, much more basil still in the garden. I like the ice cube tray suggestion. Has anyone dried it successfully and if so, how? Any other ideas on how to preserve it?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 10:59PM
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garliclady(z7 NC)

Here is afew good reasons to have too much basil...

Basil Prawns
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 lemons, juiced
3 Tablespoons coarse grained prepared mustard
125g/4oz minced fresh basil
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
salt to taste
1 pinch white pepper
1 1/2kg/3lb raw prawns, peeled and cleaned

Mix oil and melted butter in a shallow glass bowl. Stir in lemon juice, mustard, basil and garlic, season with salt and pepper. Add prawns, and toss. Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat grill to high heat. Grease well.
Remove prawns, and thread on soaked bamboo skewers.
Cook for 4 minutes, on lightly oiled grill turning once, until just pink.

Pan Glazed Chicken w/ Basil
4 boneless chicken breast halves
1/2teas. salt
1/4teas. pepper
2teas. olive oil
2TBS. balsamic vinegar
1TBS. honey
8-10 basil leaves
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in skillet
and add chicken. Cook 5 minutes on each side or until chicken
is no longer pink. Stir in vinegar, honey and basil and cook

Basil, Garlic Vinaigrette
2C olive oil
1C white wine vinegar
1/4C chopped fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Combine all in a jar with lid, shake. Refrigerate overnight, shake well before using.

Easy Garlic Pasta
1 lbs box of spaghetti pasta noodles
stick butter
1 med head of garlic
8-10 basil leaves
Fresh Parmesan Cheese
While pasta is cooking place butter, garlic (pressed), and basil (finely chopped) in a heat proof glass bowl. Place bowl over boiling pot of pasta and let butter melt. Stir all ingredients together. Remove bowl and when pasta is done, drain. Pour hot pasta over butter mixture and toss .Addfreshly grated Parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. And serve. This can be a whole meal just add cooked shrimp or chicken.

Garlic and Basil Cream Sauce over pasta
8 oz penne or other pasta 4 tbs. Butter 4 cloves garlic (minced or pressed) 1 cup light cream
10-12 basil leaves 1 med. shallot pepper and salt Freshly grated parmesan

Cook pasta. Melt butter in a small deep skillet. Add Garlic and shallots saute' 3 min. over low heat. pour in cream , basil , salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat covered but vented 7-10 min. until thickened. Pour sauce over pasta and add chees

Tomato Salad with Basil Honey Vinaigrette
4 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
3-4 tomatoes sliced and layered in serving platter
In a small bowl whisk together the vinaigrette, honey and salt. Add the olive oil and basil and whisk to blend. Taste and adjust seasonings. Drizzle over tomatoes and serve.
Note: It looks pretty with a layer of lettuce leaves under it and this extends the salad a bit.

Basil Stuffed Chicken
boneless chicken breast 1 clove of garlic for each piece of chicken seasoned salt
5 large basil leaves for each piece of chicken olive oil tooth picks or skewers

Place each piece of chicken in between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and flatten to 1/4 inch with a meat mallet. Sprinkle each side with season salt. With a garlic press mash a clove of garlic on one side of each breast. Cover that side of the chicken with basil leaves. Then starting with the short end roll up the chicken and secure with a toothpick . Cook in pan with olive oil until chicken is firm and white on both sides. ( you can cook this on your grill) Serve with pasta , fresh chopped tomatoes, chopped basil and cheese. .

    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 3:00PM
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loblolly9(z9 SC)

Ooooh, I agree w/ others, there is no such thing as too much basil.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2005 at 6:38PM
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Basil grows like a weed here in Hawaii... as much as I love it, I'm far too familiar with "too much!"

Basil Butter is a good use. It's great on table bread and sandwiches.

- 1-2 cups basil leaves, depending how much flavor you want
- 1 stick butter
- pinch of salt and pepper
- mix in food processor and refrigerate

    Bookmark   September 12, 2008 at 8:05PM
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