Fresh Basil

Would it be wrong to grow my own fresh basil in the kitchen or the office for a topping? I’d like to have it as a topping but it usually goes bad before I sell it. This way I could just pick it as I need it. What do you guys think?

Also, do you guys put it on the pizza before or after cooking? Whole or chopped? Enough to cover the whole pizza or just a few pieces here and there?

Thanks guys!

Focus, my friend.

The dire situation you are in and you are spending even 1 second thinking about growing your own basil? :shock:

Yes, I realize this is extremely petty compared to the big picture, but I need to tell the menu guys to add basil or not to add basil.

Eh I guess I have my answer tho… basil won’t make us or break us. Thanks.

When I use fresh basil I use it as a total replacement for the dried stuff. Two approached here are: 1) Strip a bunch of leaves off of a stem, roll them and cut into strips. Apply a little oil to your pizza skin and apply a sprinkling of the fresh basil strips, then apply the slices of fresh tomato, tomato strips/fillets, or sauce. The other approach is to delete and dried basil from the sauce and then place either the strips or three or four whole leaves around the top of the baked pizza. Be sure to apply them as soon as possible after the pizza comes out of the oven. This gives a great appearance as well as a wonderful aroma to the finished pizza. When I make a traditional pizza I always like to finish it off by placing an Italian wedding bouquet in the center of the baked pizza (this is the 4-leaf cluster taken from the top of the basil stem).
When we hold our annual Practical Pizza Production Class in October we typically have scads of fresh basil to work with that Jeff and I have grown in our gardens.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I have the same problem with fresh basil going bad before I can sell all of it.

If you really want it to be on the menu you could always just go pick up a little bit at the grocery store every few days.

It isn’t all that expensive when you buy it from your distributor, but when you buy it from your local grocery store, the stuff is priced right up there with gold. Unless you’re only makinga few pizzas a day, it might actually be cheaper to buy it from a distributor, and use it over a three day period, then, anything that is left over can easily be made into basil pesto, which can then be frozen if necessary for use at a later date. Now, you just need to come up with something to use the basil pesto on. Lets see, you could incorporate some of it into the dough for a weekly special, basil pesto crust, or you could offer a pesto topped pizza with toppings such as chicken and artichoke or palm hearts, finished with a sprinkling of Feta cheese. With a little imagination, I bet you could come up with a bunch of other ideas too.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I use those Green Bags for produce, basil lasts over a week.

Great idea!!!
I’ve used them with fruit and berries with very good success, so why not with fresh basil?
Excuse me, I’ve gotta run and rebag some fresh basil! :slight_smile:

Alright Tom, you’ve inspired me. I’m going to try and make my own pesto.

Steve, I’d definitely put it on after, and I much prefer chopped(shredded into strips) to whole leaf.

It will be a soggy mess if you cook it in. Whole leaf is a little too cute and doesn’t give enough flavor uniformity to each bite.

I worked for several restaurants over the years that used fresh basil and or fresh mint that grew just outside. Not sure what the healt dept. rules are on that, might want to check. fresh basil is so wonderful, it has a great flavor and a nice aroma. but if you look to replace fresh basil with dried basil, you will not get the same results.