Wednesday, June 03, 2009
These are the sweet basil growing in my backyard; beautiful, aren't they? You may be noticing the delicate white flowers and little green clumps at the tips of the leaves; though they are sweet little things, they will cause my plants to seed out if I don't treat them as the intruders they are. If I leave them to themselves, long spindles will shoot out, and then my basil will stop growing. Can't have that! Not being a master gardener, I am not sure if basil prefers cooler weather or what, but one thing I have learned from summer's past is that if I just snip off those tips, my basil will grow till the frosts come. And that I like!
Do not think for one tiny minute that I just snip these off and toss them aside. Oh, no! I make sure there are basil leaves included in the snippings, because I then march them into the kitchen, give them a good bath, slice them coquettishly thin, and lay them atop my homemade pizza.
Also, towards the end of summer, when the plants are flourishing and taking up too much space, I merely take my snippers and cut off huge branches. Taking a ribbon, I then tie them together at the stems and hang them upside down from my empty closet pole (no, not that kind of pole - the one that you hang your clothes on!!!). When all the leaves are good and dried and crinkled up like raisins, I gently pull the leaves off, crushing them a bit in the palms of my hands, and place them in a baggie or old spice jar -- all set for winter!!!
"Go to the ant...observe her ways and be wise...which having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest" (Proverbs 6:6-8).