Fall is here and it is time to start saying goodbye to Summer crops. The shorter days signal crops like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant to stop blooming and to concentrate on ripening the fruit that is set on the plants. Wyatt says the pepper plants will probably finish this year before we even get a frost, a first for Red Wagon.
Basil plants are notorious for wanting to bloom and go to seed. We relentlessly ‘tip’ every single plant almost daily to keep the plants from blooming and to ensure a long basil season for our Farm. But, alas, nature wins the battle and the basil plants bloom.
This week we will be cutting the basil plants down and will be giving basil bunches as a choice.
I wanted to give you a heads up so you can have a plan for what to do with all that basil.
This basil is a little tougher and a little more pungent than the early basil tips you got a couple months ago in the small Ziploc bags. It’s beautiful and delicious, just a little different.
I like to make pesto and freeze it. I love to add pesto to Winter roasted vegetables. It brightens up meals and makes me happy thinking of the Summer bounty.
Below is a basic pesto recipe. You can use any nuts you have, or leave them out all together. Same with cheese, add it or leave it out. Sometimes I blend only the basil and olive oil and simply freeze it that way leaving me lots of flavor options.
Another heads up; These mature plants make a deep green-darker pesto than pesto made with young early spring plants-something about how the older plants have more chlorophyll now.
For every 2 cups of basil leaves you will need;
2 cups fresh basil leaves (no stems).
2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts or any nuts or no nuts
2 large cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Parmesan-optional
a squirt of lemon just is optional too and salt if you aren’t using cheese, the cheese is usually salty enough for me. Taste your pesto and season accordingly.
Remove basil leaves and measure how much you have so you can multiply ingredients according to the recipe. I like to toast my nuts and garlic, you don’t have to but I think it tames and blends the flavors.
Put the nuts (toasted or not) and garlic-if using- in a food processor and pulse a few times then add the basil and pulse a few times-with the machine running slowly dribble in the oil and process until
the mixture is smooth.
Add the cheese if you are using it, and process very briefly, just long enough to combine.
Store in refrigerator for up to a week, or freezer for up to 9 months.
Mines going in the freezer. I like to freeze it flat in a Ziploc so I can break off pieces as I need it and reseal the bag.
See you at pick-up.