Basil is a mainstay in our household. It works as a bit of flavouring in many dishes, raw or cooked, and can even be the key ingredient to dishes like bruchetta or pesto. I always sow a lot of basil seeds in spring and then stand back to watch the plants go like mad (or for that 20% of failures, die early and silently). This year I ended up with basil in several beds, all healthy bushes that come at least to my waist.
As autumn settles in, I’m beginning to fret about the long winter without fresh basil. A couple of years ago I discovered that I could freeze blended basil so this year, before leaves start to drop, I’m starting to harvest basil. I made a slight modification to the process – I added olive oil along with the lemon – to hopefully reduce the amount the frozen cubes dry out. I also put a larger batch into a small plastic container. The small cubes are great for seasoning but the bigger batch should be perfect as a base for pesto.
I’ve done 2 plants and have several more (maybe 10?) to go.
Basil is such a fantastic plant, not only is it great eating, it’s also beautiful. When I finished removing the leaves from the plants, I ended up with 3 little vases of basil flowers: 1 for each bathroom and 1 for the kitchen. Unfortunately the flowers have no aroma (not like those knock-your-socks-off leaves) but they’re still pretty.
Of course it’s not just me that loves those flowers, my bees eat them up (literally). They collect nectar (totally ignoring the nearby sunflower):
I couldn’t resist posting this next photo. It’s of an innocent bee going about her business. I laughed when I saw the picture on my computer – it looks to me like she’s trying to wear this flower as a hat. Maybe it’s because it’s Easter that my mind jumped to a bee in a bonnet 🙂 (Happy Easter everybody.)
It’s easy to spot 3 honeybees in a flowering basil plant. Which means I’m depriving my colonies of a good feed when I chop down the basil plants. I’ve decided to wait until the bees are done with their basil bounty before I harvest any more. Well, maybe not “done” but I’ll give them a few more days – maybe even weeks – if they remain so keen on those tiny little basil flowers (why aren’t they attacking my great big, beautiful sunflowers????). As soon as the bees find something tastier, those basil plants are history!