Italian cooking tip: growing fresh basil indoors

basil scaled

Fresh basil is such an important component of Italian cooking that I have focused on finding a way to have fresh basil available every time I need it. For those that live in Italy or a Mediterranean climate where it grows well, you will never have trouble getting it. But, I live in Portland, Oregon in the Northwest part of the US where basil does not grow well.

I read an article by one of our contributors Francesca Tosolini about making pesto sauce. In that article she suggests you can take cut basil and preserve it in water using a similar technique to preserving fresh-cut flowers. I tried what she suggested and it worked really well.

But, I also discovered that if you buy basil at the store that still has roots or take cuttings from the garden, you can preserve the basil in water for a lengthy amount of time. I have some basil that I put in a vase of water more than a month ago and it still looks great (as you can see in the photo). In a climate like we have in Portland that is not a natural climate for good basil it can be a little tricky to keep it growing for more than a few weeks. If you find yourself in that situation, I have found that placing the basil in a sunny place really seems to help it thrive. The last thing that is important to do is to harvest some of the leaves from the plant on a regular basis. If you cook Italian food as much as I do, this happens quite naturally.

Ci sentiamo presto,

Lina

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