This basil was planted sometime in late October or early November from seeds straight into the ground. We’ve been eating constantly from it since early December and have had enough to give away whole plants. Basil is, hands down, my garden success story.
Unfortunately, all the info I can glean tells me that basil dies off in May. We’ve had some unusually cold weather (nights mainly) in May this year and my basil is starting to get some ugly brown spots on it. I’m not sure if it is weather related, but anyway I’ve decided it’s time to harvest the final crop. Well, with a slight exception. A bush still thrives in the herb bed near the back door and I’ll leave that for fresh basil as long as it’s game to provide it. Also, I cut this basil from the plants leaving the plants in situ on the off-chance one or two shoots keep going. We’ll see.
The basil’s now been blended with bit of lemon juice (to help stop it from browning) and then put in the freezer in an ice tray so I can defrost and mix with olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pine nuts to make pesto through as much of the winter as I can. I’ll plant another batch in early spring so I’m hoping I won’t have much time without basil – it’s one of our favourite herbs.
Update 8/6/2011: A couple of days ago we popped one of these cubes out of the freezer tray. It was a bit difficult to twist the tray to pop (okay, I had to get Frank to do it) but the results were perfect. We threw the frozen cube into the pan of sizzling onions and immediately the smell of freshly cut basil filled the room. It was impossible to spot the difference between this and fresh basil in the finished meal.