Tuesday, September 29, 2009

B is for Basil

And Basket.

And a basket with basil.

With the temps hovering in the high 30's at night, I thought it best to harvest all of my basil before I lost it due to a freeze. Ideally, you want to harvest your basil before it begins blooming. It is said that once the basil blooms it changes the flavor somewhat. Being the great rule follower that I am, I generally push that a bit. And if I see some blooms and Im not ready to use my basil then I just pinch the blooms off and that gives me a few more days.

So, after I hauled all that basil inside, I then decided to take it back out to the patio so I could cut of all the roots.

But, before I could do that G wanted to pick out some basil plants for grammy.

A little discussion over just which ones are going to go in the bag.

This one, while upside down, must have made the cut.

Grammy listening very intently to my instruction on how to make the pesto.

After I gave grammy her basil and she made her way home that meant that I had to get to work. Sigh. The weighing of the basil begins.

This is what one pound of basil looks like.

This is what one boy doing his homework and five pounds of basil looks like.

I decided to dry all this basil since I have some pesto stored in the freezer already.

Most of the basil I tied into little bundles of about 2 stems or so.

I did read tho, that you could tear the leaves off the stem, and put them in a dish and dry them out that way. Making sure to toss them around a bit every day to help them dry out. I thought I would give that a try this time as well and see which process I preferred.

After doing that, I grabbed my trusty stool and headed downstairs.

Then I hung all my little bundles up.

It normally takes about a week to dry them out fully. And they will begin to brown and look not very pretty. But thats okay. Once they are thoroughly dry all you have to do is strip all the leaves off the stems and smash them up a bit. Store them in an airtight container and you can have freshly dried basil all winter long. It makes a very nice addition to pasta sauces, pizza sauces, and many kinds of soups.


Anonymous said...

I love preserving my own herbs, there is definately a difference between mine and store brought!

Gnightgirl said...

I just stripped all of my basil and put it in an airtight container. I didn't crush it yet though; It smelled so good that I was afraid it would release all of the "oils" (is there oil in basil?) and might last longer and taste stronger if I save the crushing for cooking time.

Anonymous said...

Wow girl!! That's quite the haul!! B is for BUSY!! :)

Farmer Jen said...

Nice looking basil, basket and boys.

I made pesto with some of my basil a month or so ago. Stored it in the freezer. Yum! Dried some more for winter use. Still have active plants out there to harvest. I probably should follow your lead and get busy with that since our nights have suddenly turned colder.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Ah, now see, this post is timely...I've got some of my basil hangin' (from g'nightgirl's FB post), but I wasn't sure how long it takes to dry or how to store it once it's dry. The contrast in color is sure stark between fresh and dried though, isn't it? What do you think, maybe I could spray paint it once its dry so I can have that pretty green color all winter?
Darby in a basket cracks me up. She looks so expectant. Maybe she wants you to carry her around the house like that?

basicliving@backtobasicliving.com said...

All the pictures are adorable, but Darby in a Basket is just precious!! I can't believe you weigh your basil. Let me rephrase that - I totally believe you weigh your basil. I just can't believe you weigh it.

I usually strip the leaves and put them in a dehydrator for an hour or so. But I like the idea of hanging the plant - does it make the room smell all sweet and basily?

I love home made pesto. I think I could eat it every day. B? Not so much. When I make it I freeze it in ice trays, and then pop those out into ziploc bags. I figure each is about 1 heaping tablespoon, so it's ready to go when I need it.

Night time temps in the 30s???? And I thought it was already ridiculously cold here! With those temps, what's left in your garden now? We're down to beans (not many), mutant pumpkins, and loofahs.

CeeCee said...

...and C is for Cilantro, and D is for Dill--oh wait, we weren't suppose to carry on the list?

You are a busy, basil harvesting girl! Did the temps get down in the 30's? I hope not.

As for basil flowers, I eat them along with everything else. I just don't eat the first few leaves underneath them.

Have fun with all your recipes! :)

Country Girl said...

That is a lot of basil. Love the smell. This is year #2 of growing herbs for me. I dried a few herbs using my dehydrator, put whole leaves into canning jars and I crumble up as I use them. Nice to see how others do it. I made pesto last year but my kids and hubby didn't like :(

frugalmom said...

molly: There is a huge difference, I agree. I love homegrown herbs!

gnightgirl: Ill try that when I strip all my plants. Ill leave some whole and crush some up...maybe it does make a difference.

ang: I have been busy...with basil! Not tomatoes, like you.

farmer jen: Mmmmm..pesto in the freezer. I love that. I especially love eating that fresh pesto in the middle of winter. Its like Im laughing in winters face...(thats not very nice tho...tho to laugh in faces, im just sayin)

danni: For sure, spray paint it...or wait, you could paint each leaf with clear fingernail polish to preserve its vibrant green color...than wouldnt take long at all. Darby in the basket...she was making me laugh. She was done after I finally got my picture. Like, see ya later stupid basket.

Penny: It does make the room smell heavenly...for a little while anyway. Once it begins to get brown and dry it doesnt really have that "walk by" aroma as much anymore.
Hey. That how I freeze mine, too. Its so easy and I love that its portioned in amounts that I tend to use most often.
In my garden now? I have beans, tomatoes(not for long) and red peppers that arent red yet. They may end up preserved as green ones so that I can beat the frost.

CeeCee: The temps are dipping into the 30s here...Blech. I dont like this.

CountryGirl: Do you like pesto tho? Does that mean its more for you??? :) Pesto, I have found, can be a little strong for some folks.

warren said...

All that "basil" looks like something that the DEA folks will be looking for...hide your stash!