Cooking With Herbs: Basil

Basil is an especially easy annual herb plant to grow. Look for seed to sow in the vegetable garden or perennial bed next spring. Although it does not reseed in my yard it’s worth the effort to purchase seed every year. There are oodles of varieties available. In a copy of Shepherd’s 2012 Garden Seed Catalog there are lettuce leaf, broadleaf, purple opal, anise, lemon, Greek mini ‘windowbox’”, and cinnamon under the ‘Scented Basils’ heading. Then there’s genova profumatissima, fino verde compactto, and napoletano under the ‘Italian Basils’ heading!

Now that Basil season is almost over be sure to go out and harvest some of this flavorful herb before the frost. It can be dried, frozen, or preserved in oil. If you didn’t plant it this year find room for it next year. It’s a companion plant to tomatoes in the vegetable garden and ‘purple ruffles’ adds a nice complement to the flower border. You can dry or preserve it in several ways. Basil vinegar can be considered a gift giving idea anytime of the year. Remember to attach a recipe for its use or include a seed packet. Here’s several recipes to try. This first recipe would be yummy served with fresh fruit and garlic bread.

  1. Pasta with Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce
  2. Basil Stewed Tomatoes

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