Basil is a plant that keeps on giving. If you keep harvesting leaves from the center of the plant, throughout the summer, you can extend the life of the basil, by preventing it from flowering, and going to seed.
Before your basil completely goes to seed for the season, harvest all you can and make pesto. If possible, make extra to freeze. Just pack the pesto into small jars or freezer containers and use within the year.
You can make pesto from many other herbs and greens. This is the classic pesto, made with Genovese basil. Use this recipe as a base, substituting arugula, chives, blanched chard, kale or the fresh herbs and greens of your choice. You can also use walnuts or sunflower seeds in place of the pinenuts.
3 cups of loosely packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons pinenuts
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil (more if needed)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, roughly grated or in small chunks
1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
In the bowl of a food processor pulse the garlic, pinenuts and salt, until finely ground.
Add the basil, and pour the olive oil in through the top, while the machine is running. Once the basil is chopped and incorporated, add the cheese and lemon juice. Pulse until the desired consistency is reached. Taste and adjust the salt or lemon juice as needed.
Enjoy on pasta, spread on toasts, or as a pizza sauce. Freeze extra pesto for up to one year.