Tomatoes and Basil – Preserving summer
Cooking Group - September 2009
Foodie Talk : Official terms to impress your friends
Pesto: A sauce originating in northern Italy containing fresh basil, . The name is the contracted past participle of pestâ ("to pound, to crush", from the same Latin root as the English word pestle, in reference to the sauce's crushed herbs and garlic.
Foodie FAQ’s : A bit o’ history
Historically, pesto is prepared in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. The leaves are washed, dried, placed in the mortar with garlic and coarse salt, and crushed to a creamy consistency. The pine nuts are added and crushed together with the other ingredients. When the nuts are well-incorporated into the "cream", grated cheese or olive oil can be added and mixed with a wooden spoon. The name basil is derived from the Greek word for "king." In many ancient cultures, the herb was revered and could be cut only with gold or silver utensils. In India, where it is a sacred herb of the gods Vishnu and Krishna, sprigs of holy basil are often placed upon the dead to protect them from evil as they pass into their next lives. According to an Italian tradition, basil is a symbol of love: If a man offers a woman a sprig of basil, she will fall in love with him and remain forever faithful. Harvested basil will keep for a week in a glass of water out of direct sun, but these cold-sensitive plants will blacken quickly if refrigerated. To preserve basil longer, place washed leaves with olive oil in a blender and puree. To promote new growth and bushiness, pinch terminal buds often; to encourage leaf development, pinch flowers.