Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Basil Time!!! Can you smell it??

So the weather has been relatively normal....and my basil survived until now...and probably later if I had let  it. The thing is...our climate is so dry up here that tender plants like basil seem to last a bit longer than in a wetter climate (like the coast).  However, there were signs that the night time coolness was taking it's toll....brown spots on the leaves, I thought that yesterday I would pick it all and then sort it today. 
And I have done that.
Picked Basil - unsorted....this is about 1/3 done.
I usually pick pretty much everything and then go through it all piece by piece and separate the good stuff from stems and the tatty stuff which I set aside for basil broth. What is basil broth you ask??'s the broth that I get when I boil the stems and tatty leaves of the basil plants in water ( I guess one could call it an infusion) and then strain it (thoroughly) and freeze it. It's a wonderful way to season soups and sauces. The good basil leaves I usually grind up in the food processor and add olive oil, pack it into smallish containers, top with plastic wrap and the lid of the container and freeze it for winter pesto. Please note that I rinse everything thoroughly to get garden dirt and dust off  before making the broth or the ground basil.

Here is the sorted basil (about 1/3 done)    

...and here are 1/3 of the basil stems and tatty leaves.

 The whole process is somewhat soothing....the scent of the basil on my fingers, the sounds of the birds etc in the yard as I do it on the back deck for the most part, it's quite a calming experience.  All in all a job well done and will prove to be fruitful in the winter...and tasty too!