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Growing Basil

August 22, 2011

Over time I have learned a couple tricks of the trade in terms of growing basil.  Two stick out as being vitally important to getting growth and that wonderfully sweet taste:

1.)  When a basil plants gets to reasonable height (say six inches), if you cut the middle stem, though the growth from the immediate place stops, new growth in two different directions will replace it.  This is true for all of the stems on your basil plant.  If you are looking for a fuller plant try pinching established stems to encourage new growth.

2.) NEVER let your basil flower!  Well, if you want to use the plant as a decorative plant, then by all means, flower power.  When the basil plant flowers all the sweetness that was once in the leaves is now heading for the flower, which can lead to bitter tasting basil.

So what do you do with basil once you have it?  I like putting a few bits of basil in my salad, or making homemade pesto.  One of my favorite uses for basil is pairing it with fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.  Try taking a nice loaf of bread, such as one from Metropolitan Bakery in Philadelphia, and slice it, grill or bake it with a dab of olive oil and fresh mozzarella on the top.  A slice of fresh tomato and basil on top—divine!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 4, 2011 7:45 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I didn’t realize the flowers took away from the leaf flavor too! I especially like the recipe ideas. I have all this basil in my garden and I really have no idea what to do with it…. I’m going to look up pesto. And once my tomatoes ripen, I’ll be able to try the other recipes as well. Thank you!

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