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Pesto basil and other ways with a bumper basil crop

What to do with this year's huge basil crop from Sam Philips of Victory Gardens.

What to do with this year's huge basil crop from Sam Philips of Victory Gardens

Sam Philips shows off her summer crop of basil. Late August is the perfect time to harvest the garden herb. (Elaine Chau)

If you grow basil and tomatoes as companion plants, you are in for a treat this year. With B.C.'s bumper crop of tomatoes, comes a huge harvest of basil.

But what's the best way to treat — and eat — your delicious green crop?

The Early Edition's Elaine Chau got some advice from basil booster Sam Philips of Victory Gardens.

"Basil is starting to flower, so it's really good to be harvesting regularly," said Philips. "And when you harvest basil, you always want to harvest from the top down. Because basil is flowering, you'll want to cut that flower off.

"What that does is it encourages the growth hormones to the new growth, so you have a less leggy plant and more bushy plant."

Philips advises avoiding the temptation to just prune randomly.

"Sometimes people just like to harvest the biggest individual leaves...the leaves help the plant photosynthesize, so you don't want to just pick wherever you please."

After you've harvested your basil, Philips suggests you make her simple pesto recipe.

Simple Pesto Recipe

Making basil pesto is a quick and easy way to use your herb harvest. (Julie Van Rosendaal)
  • 2 cups of packed basil
  • A few cloves of locally grown garlic
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until blended. If the texture is too dry, add more olive oil.

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