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  • Writer's pictureKate

Big Grow how to grow and use no.1: Basil!

We're running Big Grow plant giveaway and advice sessions on Thursdays from 1-3pm outside Bramblebrook community centre for anyone to come along, pick up some herb and vegetable plants and have a go at growing their own at home.

For anyone too far away to come along, we'll be posting our information sheets here. They contain advice on growing the plants and usually some recipe ideas too to get you started if you're unfamiliar with the plants. And if you have any questions on how to grow plants at home, please do get in touch!

How to Grow and Use BASIL

Grow and pick BASIL

1. Put your plant in a light place but not in full sun

2. Stand the pot on a plastic lid or saucer to catch water

3. Water whenever the soil feels nearly dry

4. Pour water off the saucer so the plant doesn’t get too wet and rot

5. Pick leaves to cook with regularly– but always leave a few on the plant.

6. The plant will keep growing, giving you basil all year!

If your plants get little insects (aphids or greenfly) living on them, try spraying or washing the plants with a little bit of washing up liquid or old washing up water– this makes aphids fall off and you can wash them away.

You can eat basil by itself, put it in salads, sandwiches, stir into pasta or any savoury food you like.

Try out the recipes on the next pages; find extra growing and cooking ideas on our blog at

Tomato and basil soup (serves 4)


1. two tins of chopped tomatoes

2. one onion, chopped

3. three cloves of garlic, chopped

3. one litre of stock made with a stock cube

4. a handful of fresh basil leaves

5. salt and pepper to taste

6. some oil for frying

How to make it

1. In a large saucepan, gently fry the chopped onion in oil, until it’s golden.

2. Add the garlic, and gently fry for two minutes more.

2. Add the two tins of chopped tomatoes and the stock, and carry on cooking until it’s cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste (your stock might already be salty enough).

3. Roughly chop the basil leaves and add them to the pan. Cook for a few minutes more.

4. Serve straight away. Or it will keep in a fridge for three days, or you can freeze it for three months.

Variation: you can add a grated carrot and a chopped celery stick after you’ve fried the onions if you want to get more veg into it!

Pesto, for 4


1. a small bunch of basil leaves

2. the same amount of spinach, rocket or other salad leaves

3. 25g chopped nuts

4. half a garlic clove

5. salt and pepper

6. juice of half a lemon

7. 5 tablespoons olive oil

How to make it

Put all the ingredients into a blender (you could use a stick blender) or food processor and blend until smooth

Stir into pasta for a quick and tasty meal,

Make pesto pizzas using pizza bases, pittas or toast topped with pesto and passata or tomato puree and cheese.

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