Grow. Cook. Eat.

BASIL

This feature provides a fantastic salad we can create with local Ontario produce but also ‘how’ this herb is grown and can you DIY in your own backyard or community garden? Today we focus on basil and make a quick recipe from Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Table cookbook.

magnolia-table-cookbook

GROW.

Basil is a very popular herb and can be used fresh or dried post harvest for a longer shelf life.  It can grow in a small footprint so if it’s a container get one that’s at least 10 inches and give the basil enough room to provide you with a big harvest.  The bigger space also gives balanced moisture for your soil, which means the basil is more forgiving if you forget to water it one day. You don’t want to over water but you also don’t want to dry out your basil either 🙂

Basil is pretty consistent if started from seed but I keep it simple by purchasing a seedling and just transplant it into the container.  It needs full sun so place somewhere that gives you about 6 hours of sun and feed it with a balanced fertilizer every 2 weeks, especially if in a container.

IMG_2798

Harvesting your basil will cause it to keep growing especially when you cut the plant just above a set of leaves and making sure to get a clean cut so new leaves and a stem can form.  Always leave about 1/3 of the plant behind and you’ll get regrowth.  After you’ve harvested your basil, store stems only (not the leaves) in a cool cup of water or dry them.

To dry your basil, hang in bunches in a dark dry place with air circulation and then store out of direct light.  This herb doesn’t like the cold so be sure to start after the last frost date in the spring and pull inside if possible as we approach winter.

COOK.

Peach Caprese is a recipe that works soooo well for a quick fresh salad in the summer.  Peaches are now in season in Ontario (Niagara area) so you can get your peaches locally at a farm or market and then pair with your home grown basil.  A traditional caprese salad has mozarella, tomatoes and basil, so this is a fun summer twist.  Have a look at the recipe and give it a try.

GCE #2

EAT.

This salad is so simple and refreshing, it can be paired with almost anything.  A flavourful spinach & artichoke quiche is light and great for the summer as well.  If you’d like to pair with a cocktail slushie style drink, try this one out.

For the recipe head over to Serious Eats.

Cucumber and Basil Slushie. 

cucumber-basil_slush

Search your local area for nurseries or garden centres to purchase your basil seeds/seedlings and then find your closest farmers market to purchase your other ingredients like cucumbers and peaches.

~ Dionne

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