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37

If we're talking about the big classic pesto alla genovese, then unfortunately... There is no substitute. Basil is the majority ingredient in pesto. None of the other suggestions here will taste even remotely similar. You'll be making a completely different dish entirely. It will be some type of vegetable/oil paste, but it will not taste anything at all ...


32

The good news is, you can make pesto almost out of any green using the same process and proportions as with basil -- it just changes the flavor profile. I make pesto-style sauces out of chives, cilantro, kale, arugula... I would not be surprised to find you could make a spinach pesto. Basil tastes very different from spinach, though.


28

No, this would be a bad substitution. Instead use cinnamon, in a smaller quantity, and preferably whole. Or leave it out entirely and rely on the other spices in your dish. In my opinion at least, dried basil leaves are mostly flavorless. They certainly lack the sweet, fresh, minty flavors of fresh basil. They might lend your dish some complexity or slight ...


11

Fresh herbs should, generally, be added closer to the end of a recipe. Dried herbs should be added fairly early on during the cooking process so that they have time to "develop" and more fully release their flavors. Fresh herbs and spices, however, will generally have more subtle flavors, and they are usually best used for seasoning at the very end of the ...


8

You bought thai basil. It's used a lot in south east Asia, and an anise-like taste is one of its qualities. I don't use it often, but I always have some in stock in the freezer, for some thai or Vietnamese curries or soups.


8

"Water soluble" vs. "fat soluble" refer to the flavor of the spice, rather than the physical leaves, seeds, or grains. That is, if you put a bunch of basil leaves (especially dried ones) in a glass of warm water, and leave it for a few minutes, the water will continue to taste like basil even after you've strained out the leaves. With fat soluble spices ...


7

This is a more tricky conversion than most. As another answer already said, the "standard" conversion for most herbs is 3 parts fresh = 1 part dried. (There is more general advice on that question in the link rumtscho gave in comments here.) Basil is a particular problem because its flavor is generally very different in dried vs. fresh forms. Dried basil ...


6

I know this is a bit of an old question but I came along it on my own search so thought I'd share my solution. I figured the problem with the excess garlic is that it's raw so I sprinkled some parmesan on top of my pesto and baked it in the oven for 5-10mins. Stirred through the now melted parmesen with the semi-cooked garlic and it tastes so much better. ...


5

In regards to the part of the question asking about storage lifetime, and with respect to the other answers on this question: pesto is a low acid food at risk for botulism: It contains garlic, which is harvested out of the ground, so may have spores (as might the basil leaves, but less likely) Underneath the oil layer is anoxic (no access to oxygen from ...


5

If you feel the urge to wash it before using, then wash it. The stress of not having washed it is not worth it. I used to work in the Adelaide Central Markets, and having seen what some people did before touching the produce, I habitually wash goods that were within reach of the public before I use them. When you've seen customers stick their hand in their ...


5

The picture shows a basil harvester. The stems remain in the ground, as you can see on the right; those stems that get harvested are processed together with the leaves.


5

I wouldn't use basil unless for a coconut-milk style Thai curry. But for Indian curry, there are also "Curry leaves" for sale in Indian food shops and markets which are delectable. Even their scent is intoxicating. They look like bay leaves but are larger.


4

I don't have a definite answer, but here are a few thoughts on things that might help. First, are you drying the basil after washing it? Shake out the extra water, and pat it dry, maybe let it sit for a bit to evaporate. The extra water will dilute the pesto a bit, and not be good for the flavor - and if you think the problem might be too much water in ...


4

I mostly run my clenched fingers down the stem to break off leaves, rather than picking individually. It's much faster. The top bits with the little leaves/flowers do require a bit of hand plucking though. If I were a commercial scale pesto producer, I think I'd probably pull the cut off plants bottom end first through a 18mm hole in a steel plate. That ...


4

Assuming food-safe seeds (are there basil seeds that aren't?), yes it is safe, both to drink the water and to eat the seeds. That's the point. Just now I have been experimenting with different ways to drink soaked Sacred Basil seeds. Other types of basil seeds seem to work just the same way, as evidenced by the results of an Amazon search for "basil seeds ...


4

If the basil seeds are safe, the water should be also safe. If you have food-grade basil seeds (i.e. non-teated seeds) and didn't soak them for too long (so pathogens had enough time to grow), this should be safe. I think soaked basil seed last as long as soaked chia seeds, 2 weeks. There are even desserts / drinks with basil seeds and the water in which ...


4

Tearing is for artistic effect Some people will claim tearing does not damage the cell of the plant as much as cutting, a simple look under a basic microscope will show you otherwise. Not sure how this would affect basil in particular. What dish are you preparing? If you want more basil flavour and smell, cut it more finely, or bruise it (back of knife or ...


4

Best? Potted plant. Not just always absolutely fresh, it's also self-replenishing! There may exist tricks like moist towels, keeping them in cold (refrigerated), or preserving them in ways that keep most flavor (in oil), and combinations thereof, but they all are a trade-off between freshness time and quality and all make the leaves degrade in order of at ...


4

There are a lot of varieties of basil, that have some subtle differences in taste, but there's usually a mild background of licorice. (And honestly, basil was ruined for me for many years after my mom mentioned it, because I hate licorice.) Cook's Thesaurus recommends : oregano OR thyme OR tarragon OR summer savory OR equal parts parsley and celery leaves ...


3

If you choose to cut basil with a knife, gently rub olive oil all over it before you cut it, this will prevent the leaves from darkening , particularly if you are using it in a salad.


3

First off, I'm afraid you have been using the wrong type of basil for your dish! In Thai cooking, three different types are commonly used: "Thai basil" (or "horapha", โหระพา), which tastes a bit like anise / liquorice; it's slightly purple (as shown in the picture in Jolenealaska's answer). "Holy basil" (or "kaphrao", กะเพรา), which tastes more like pepper/...


3

Strips of herbs is called a chiffonade: Stack the leaves together. Roll the leaves into a cigar shape Slice across them. I typically use a chef's knife. If I have multiple herbs, I'll wrap the smaller leaves in one of the larger ones. (eg, basil & oregano) If you want it minced, then you should "run your knife through" the pile. Which in expression ...


3

Good news for you: you can make pesto out of just about anything. The word "pesto" actually refers to the manner it is traditionally made (with a mortar and pestle) and shares etymology with both "pestle" and "paste". And that's basically what a pesto is: a paste. In English-speaking countries, "pesto" is typically ...


2

Don't try and keep it alive. Wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze it. It will thaw in seconds under running water. Freezing will do little harm to the flavour.


2

As long as the whole dip is/was kept in the safe temperature range (under 40 °F / 5 °C), I don't think you will have a food safety issue. Remember, time out of refrigeration (well, technically in the danger zone of 40~140 °F / 5~60 °C) is cumulative. How was the dip served the first time? If the cream cheese (a "potentially hazardous" food, much more so ...


2

Yes, you can use them the same way you would use the leaves- note that flowers are often used in herbal tea blends (I see hibiscus used particularly often). Depending on the cultivar, however, the flavor may be noticeably different than what you would get with the leaves, probably a bit more bitter- that's what I noticed when using mint flowers for tea, and ...


2

I have just discovered basil seeds in Asian drinks and am currently enamored with them. I bought seeds and have soaked them and made my own drinks. I make a simple syrup that I flavor and tint slightly with food coloring. What I noticed is when I mix them with water and simple syrup after a while the gelatinous part of the seeds holds the sweetness. Thought ...


2

The flowers and stems are absolutely edible. The stems are like cilantro stems in that they have a lot of flavor of the herb but are not as prized for their texture as the leaves. I puree cilantro stems until they are just flavorful, green liquid. That liquid is great in sauces, salsas, soups and dressings. I see no reason why Thai basil would be any ...


2

I just finished making a pesto with my brownish basil leaves. It tastes good to me,just like "regular" green basil leaves, only a little browner.


2

The more the membranes in walls of raw garlic are bruised or torn, the spicier/stronger/more bitter it will taste. Cutting fewer walls (instead of smashing which tears many of them) results in less spiciness especially when cut with an extremely sharp blade. So if you're goint to use the garlic raw, chop or slice it rather than smashing if you don't want ...


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