Tuesday, September 12, 2006

how to store basil

Last night The Huz came home from work really late. Like bedtime late. He was tired and very hungry, and I scurried around to make him a nice toasted BLT, green beans, and summer squash, all dishes straight from our garden. Mind you, it's not a requirement in our house that I do the dinner preparation, especially when I've eaten some hours earlier than him, but when your honey comes home that pooped, you just do. Right?

So, long about 10:30, as he was reading the paper (his favorite form of unwinding), he called out to me that the weather section was predicting a rapid drop of temperature last night, perhaps even as low as the high 20's.

The high 20's? That is just so wrong on so many levels. Not least of which is that I'm not ready for the summer to come that abruptly to an end. But more immediately, because I have an absolute forest of basil out in the garden, awaiting its metamorphosis into glorious pesto. Even though I just harvested quite a bit for a friend who stopped by today, and have had other friends come by to take what they wanted, I've only made a couple of batches of pesto for myself so far, and this is the stuff that needs to last us through the winter.

Thus ensued a veritable Keystone Cops thing of running around getting scissors, bag, shoes, etc, with Simba barking excitedly. I turned on the big overhead halogen light that shines from the peak of our roof, and dashed out the door with Simba on my heels. Ten minutes later, in I came with a LOT of basil. Thank goodness our refrigerator was relatively empty.

I've found that the best way to refrigerate basil is on the stem, wrapped in a damp towel, all encased in a plastic bag. I've heard that you can stick it in a vase of water just like a flower, and I've tried that, but I didn't like dealing with the slimy stems when I finally did get to using it, and I did find there was some attrition if I didn't get to it right away. I find if I store it in the fridge, it will last for up to a week. The leaves will turn brown, but they won't dry out, and it still makes perfectly good pesto.

By the way, I make a concentrated form of pesto for freezing, omitting the cheese and most of the olive oil. You can find my recipehere.

P.S. It didn't get anywhere near freezing last night. Still lots of basil out there! Whew!

P.P.S. Cyndi over at Cookin' With Cyndi has tagged me for the "Five Things To Eat Before You Die" meme. Thank you, Cyndi! I promise I'll blog it as soon as I can. I'm having a surprisingly hard time coming up with the list, but it's gradually coming together.


Lynne said...

I love this post. Again, (like the moose story) you have such a great "voice" for storytelling; totally entertaining!

I can't believe that the temps are dipping so low in that part of the country already! Especially considering I took a jog this afternoon in 95 degree weather!
You must get to see a really beautiful fall. (Will you post pictures of the trees turning someday?)

Barbara (Biscuit Girl) said...

Glad you saved the basil! I'll have to try your pesto recipe. I love the stuff. And I just so happen to have some basil in the fridge...hmmmm how convenient.

Stew said...

If you run out of freezer space after making the pesto sauce, I'll be happy to "store" some in my freezer for you! :-)