One of our favorite herbs, which we plant in the spring outdoors, is basil. Luckily basil grows well even for someone, like me, who doesn’t have a green thumb. Moderate moisture and sunlight will give you enough basil to use fresh throughout the summer, or more to preserve for longer periods of time.
When harvesting basil, choose evenly colored leaves, with no indication of wilting or insects. You can keep basil refrigerated wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel and then placed in a plastic bag. You can keep it refrigerated for up to four days.
If you are coming to the end of the outdoor growing season you will need to decide which form of long term preservation you want to do to preserve your harvest. You may wish to dry your basil in a dehydrator or freeze in small containers.
In our household I like to freeze the end of the year crop by making pesto. Pesto by definition is an uncooked sauce made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. This popular sauce originated in Genoa, Italy, and is a favorite with pasta. Although we have found that chicken pesto pizza, pesto roast, and pesto pinwheels have found their way into our menus on a regular basis.