Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bountiful Basil

I worked up the motivation to work in the yard the other day. Not for very long, mind you. About 45 minutes in I was tired and needed to rest. Nevertheless I was able to work outside before I passed out from the blazing heat and hunger.

I worked on picking weeds and pulling up the dead stuff from my garden. I grew sunflowers this summer so I had to pull up the stalks. And then I moved over to my garden where I proceeded to pull everything up. I am tired of growing jalepeno peppers; we never use them. The yellow bell peppers needed to be redone, although I've been told that peppers are better the older the plant, I still wanted to redo them. And lastly, I pulled up all the basil. But I couldn't bring myself to throw it away. Basil is an amazing grower, and I love that it grows with basically no help from me. So, with a little hesitation, I pulled it all up.

But I really didn't want to throw it away. So the task quickly became what in the world to do with all that basil! I did give some of it away, but I wanted to keep some so as to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

First, obviously, I made pesto. I make mine with walnuts because pine nuts, at $16 a pound, are no where near the budget. So, I made a big tub of pesto to keep in the fridge, and topped it with olive oil. Apparently, this is the trick to keep the pesto from discoloring! I found that when I was looking for ways to preserve basil.

Secondly, I chopped a bunch of basil, and then put them in ice cube trays and covered with water to freeze. I'll be using these cubes for soups and sauces. As I was chopping endlessly I realized that this is not my first time using a frozen herb. I have bought and used the frozen garlic cubes from Trader Joe's! When I go to use the basil I will set it over a slotted spoon over a bowl and allow the water to drain away, if necessary. If I'm putting the basil in a tomato sauce the melted ice won't matter a bit!

Thirdly I made a "paste" with basil and oil and filled one more ice cube tray. This was a suggestion on one of the sites I found. Not really sure how I'll use it except in soups or sauces!

Once frozen I put them in ziploc bags and stored them in the freezer. I hope to have fresh-ish basil for the rest of the year. And I'll probably replant the basil next Spring. It is a good herb, I just won't plant as many next time!


chandy said...

My basil plant never got that big... and sadly, it is currently the only edible thing growing in my yard at this point . (Except our limes, I guess...but those are more for, uh...drinking)

Are you going to plant a fall garden? I can't imagine bending over and tending plants is too easy right now.

Kristi said...

Does gardening relax you?

Again, I would like vegetables a lot more if they sliced and diced and chopped themselves.

But that pesto sounds yummo!!!

D.L. White said...

Wow - those are all very cool ideas for preserving fresh herbs. I love the ice cube idea! I'll have to try that sometime, when I graduate to the advanced stage of cooking. I'm still struggling along at the "novice" level. :P