A Photo Gallery Of Sweet Basil
Sweet Basil, My Favorite Herb To Grow
Sweet Basil is my all time favorite herb to grow because it is so easy to grow and you can usually start using it only six weeks after you plant it as a seed and even quicker than that if you buy your plants already started. There are several varieties of basil from green to purple. And when you grow the various varieties in your garden your garden will smell so good. And it will help to keep pests away.
How To Harvest Your Sweet Basil
You will want to cut your basil that you want to dry just before the flowers open. If you keep the flowers cut off the basil will continue to bush out and grow and you can dry the stems with the immature flowers and use it in your cooking. Be sure to use scissors to harvest your basil and the best time to harvest your basil is in the evenings after the sun has set. To prevent getting a disease going in your basil plants don't harvest when the basil is wet. You can cut your basil off in long sprigs and dry it in the spare room hanging it up to dry. When it crunches when you touch it then it is ready to be placed in a container with a tight fitting lid.
Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce
Home grown basil can also be cut and used in your spaghetti sauce and it will be some of the best spaghetti sauce you will ever taste. You can also make some of the best pesto sauce you will ever taste in your life. You will need your fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You need just a splash of the balsamic vinegar. And you want to use 90 percent basil to 10 percent pine nuts. And you want to use a food processor to make your pesto sauce. You want to gradually add extra virgin olive oil just a little at a time as you puree the freshly picked basil and pine nuts. You can keep fresh pesto in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. It tastes wonderful if you toss a couple of tablespoons of your homemade pesto sauce with your favorite pasta while the pasta is still hot. Try pasta with pesto and grilled chicken breast or shrimp for a real tasty treat.
Basil Tomato Salad
I also like to purchase a small container of Feta Cheese crumbles from the super market and chop a handful of fresh basil fine and then chop a couple of fresh from the vine tomatoes and chop them fine. You want to place these ingredients into a large bowl and then you want to add a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Toss the ingredients together well and refrigerate about 1 hour. Serve with any meal and I guarantee you that you and your family or guests will love it.
Planting Your Basil
You will want to plant your basil where you have rich soil. You can make your soil richer by adding leaf compost and black cow manure. You can usually find the leaf compost for free and you can buy the black cow manure at your farm and garden store in bags. If you plant your basil from seeds you will want to wait until all dangers of frost are past and plant by the directions on the seed packet. If you choose to purchase already started basil plants you still want to wait until all dangers of frost are past but you will still get a jump on the growing season with plants versus seeds.
And remember sweet basil plants especially the purple varities can get quite large. So plant them where they have room to grow and expand. To keep basil growing its important to cut it and prevent it from putting on flowers.
I hope you enjoyed this hub about Sweet Basil and if you have any comments feel free to post your comments below or give us hints or tips about growing sweet basil or ask your questions.