Basil – King Of The Herbs Exposed
Every Garden Should Have Basil – But What Are Some Basics For Those Still Without Basil
Yes, most meals can be prepared with only the most basic spices but adding herbs like Basil, and the meal transforms into a feast.
That is why no garden should be without this king of the herbs.
The article below covers the basics, from growing, harvesting to preserving.
Read, Enjoy and share …
Basil is a native of Africa and other tropical areas of Asia where it has been cultivated for over 5,000 years. It is a culinary herb that sends cooks into poetic rapture. It is probably the favorite of the “sweet” herbs and well known from its use in Mediterranean cuisine. It has a spicy bite when eaten fresh.
For basil harvest, the key is to harvest before the basil gets too woody. You can get multiple harvests from each plant. Cut each stem back to the last 4 leaves. Give each plant a good dose of fish emulsion to support quick leaf regrowth.
You can freeze, dry, make basil into pesto, basil butter, basil vinegar, or basil oil.
For freezing, you can freeze chopped leaves into ice cubes to be able to pop into sauces. You can also blanch and freeze. If you don’t blanch, the frozen herb does not keep its color or flavor. Blanching is simply throwing the herb leaves in a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds and then quickly plunge them into a bowl or sink of ice water. Dry the leaves then I then put the leaves on a cookie sheet, place in the freezer and when frozen, remove and put in quart freezer bags. Now you can have fresh basil anytime you need it!
Pesto is a mixture of fresh basil, traditionally pine nuts (but I use any kind of nut I have on hand-walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, cashews), parmesan cheese, a few cloves of garlic, and olive oil. You can add spinach or parsley. Just throw them all together in a food processor and ta-da pesto!
For basil butter, chop the basil and mix 1 Tbl, or to taste, into softened butter.
Lots of options!
Basil turns black when temps get close to freezing. Be sure to harvest all leaves when it looks like you are getting a frost. …………
Basil is easy to grow. It loves warmth and melts when temps get even close to freezing. The only watch out is too much water. You’ll get the best flavor when you are stingy with water.
They don’t require much in the way of fertilizer. Just fertilize at planting and once/month. A good organic choice is blood meal. Nitrogen encourages green growth which is what you are after when it comes to basil.
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Source: Posted by Melodie Metje in Mother Earth News
Image Source: The image is from the same article