a left-eyed girl

living in a 2 dimensional world

Basil overdose.

with 11 comments

After we moved to the new place, I decided to grow things in our quite narrow backyard. Since we tend to move around a lot, I figured that container gardening for herbs and vegetables was probably better so that we could move them with us, and that I could try to grow some wildflowers directly into the dirt. I didn’t really know much about planting and growing things, so I went out to the store and bought some pots, seed packets, and a big bag of dirt. I set to tilling the intended plot of dirt for the flowers and filled the pots with dirt and seeds.

Silly amateur gardener me, I planted an entire packet of seeds per pot. I had no idea how many seeds would grow if I put them in the dirt, so I worked out some probability and decided that putting an entire packet of seeds in there would guarantee that something would grow. Well, probability worked against me when it came to the basil plant, and a ton of them sprouted and started to grow in the small pot. I only found out that they had surpassed the pot capacity when I tried to move the pot and found that the roots had somehow found the dirt underneath the pot and rooted directly into the ground. Snap snap snap, it went as I tried to pick up the pot to move it one day.

So what was an noob gardener with zero experience to do? “Separate them out,” my friend Jeff told me. He might as well have been trying to tell me what to do via semaphore, but I dutifully looked it up on the internets and decided to try this magic thing called “separating.” Turns out, it’s just the term for taking a clump of plants, separating them into individual plants, and replanting them. So that’s exactly what I did, and I ended up with a bunch of basil plants growing like weeds in the back yard. That made me pretty happy!

After faithfully watering and cooing to the plants (yes I talk to them, shut up) for several months, I decided that maybe I should try eating them now that fall is upon us. Lo and behold, I find out that basil is only an annual plant, and it will die at the end of the season. Oh no! This means that I can’t keep growing the basil all winter and letting them take over the entire back yard like I intended (crazy me never meant to actually EAT any of it).

And this ridiculously lengthy exposition leads me to my “problem” today. What shall I do with all this basil? I asked a few friends and it seems that the resounding answer is “thou shalt make pesto.” Having never made pesto before in my life, I’m looking forward to figuring out what’s in it and how to make it.

Does anyone else have other suggestions as to what to do with all my basil?

Written by Reese

October 21, 2008 at 10:39 am

11 Responses

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  1. I have made some killer pesto…

    1 cup basil leaves (and stems)
    4-6 cloves of garlic (depends on how garlicy you like it)
    1/4-1/2 cup olive oil (depends on how health conscious you are…)
    1/3 cup pine nuts (small bag)

    optional – grated Parmesan cheese

    – The way I make it (the lazy way) is:

    Throw everything in a bowl and blend with an hand-blender.

    Another great way to use those basil leaves:

    1. Salad Caprese – tomatoes, basil & fresh mozzarella

    2. Bruscetta – Toast a bread, rub a clove of garlic on it, cut tomatoes to 1/2″ cubes, add chopped basil leaves & olive oil and pour on toast (yummmmmm).

    3. Toss basil leaves with arugula leaves. make sauce – olive oil, honey, cinnamon, mustard, black pepper, salt – drizzle on leave and shave some Parmesan on it (add pomegranate seeds and/or nut for some extra pleasure).


    October 21, 2008 at 3:14 pm

  2. Wear it?


    October 21, 2008 at 3:39 pm

  3. @Taly: Ah… that sounds like a good recipe! I’m on the old-fashioned end and have been looking at getting a mezzaluna for chopping lately. I hear it makes a big difference when it comes to chopping herbs. It’s the perfect excuse to get one and learn to use it.

    @NYCinephile: Perhaps you’re thinking fig leaves?


    October 21, 2008 at 4:12 pm

  4. Mmmm… That must be interesting. Tell me how it went.


    October 21, 2008 at 4:14 pm

  5. Thai food.

    And then you can teach me how to cook it.


    October 22, 2008 at 7:44 am

  6. I eat it like spinach :] Cook it with Eggplant!!! Umm, tasted great with tomatoes :] But yeah, I eat basil not like a herb but like any other greens :]


    October 22, 2008 at 8:02 am

  7. PHO!!!


    October 25, 2008 at 7:54 am

  8. @Taly my love: It went really well! I think it came out great. The chopping wasn’t so difficult since I got my knives freshly sharpened and now they are really beautiful and nice to use! I didn’t actually get to try any of the pesto since I gave it as a gift to a friend but the small taste I had was great!

    @Ken: Ha… Nah. I’m not a huge fan of Thai food!

    @Tiffs: Oh wow… eating it like spinach? Hmm… I’ll have to try that!

    @JC: MMMM… now THAT is a tasty idea…


    October 26, 2008 at 7:11 pm

  9. I am so happy to hear that 🙂

    I am glad I could help with the recipe.


    October 27, 2008 at 3:07 am

  10. Thai Basil has a very different flavor from Italian basil anyways, so Ken would be out of luck 🙂

    IMO you can never have too much pesto.

    Jeff D

    November 4, 2008 at 12:22 pm

  11. you can make pesto , put it in ziplock bags, press it flat, and freeze them…take it out to make pesto pasta another day! 🙂


    November 11, 2008 at 6:09 pm

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