4 posts tagged with “basil”

  • How to preserve herbs like you and basil are BFFs

    I originally wrote this post for Niagara Life magazine.

    Most herbs would agree — I am probably their worst enemy, alongside a lawn mower.

    Save for chives and lavender, I struggle to grow herbs in my garden. The heaps I get in my weekly vegetable baskets from a local farmer are really just flavourful races against time to use them up before they disintegrate into brown liquid in my fridge. Oh, the guilt that comes with wasting them. But how much dill, parsley and thyme can one human possibly eat in a sitting?

    The antidote to my careless ways was to get smart with my sage and be more thoughtful with my tarragon. I’ve started preserving herbs to use when the garden is another summer memory, and to spare having to dart out, last minute, to the grocery store to buy a clam shell of coriander from far-off places.

    Here are three simple ways to alleviate guilt, save time, and preserve that bounty of parsley, those mounds of mint and loads of lavender:

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    Category In the Garden, Recipes


  • Peach Tree
  • Gratitude: A recipe for zucchini lasagna with lentils

    Zucchini lasagna with lentils.

    I live by the rule that friends don’t give friends zucchini.

    It has worked out well for me, keeping the summer squash, super-sized at this time of year, at bay. But when a friend came at me the other week with one the size of Captain Caveman’s club and a pleading look in her eyes, I decided that sometimes friends should just shut up and take the zucchini.

    Even if I already had three pounds shredded and stuffed in my freezer, and another trio of green and striped brutes that could double as free weights languishing in my fridge.

    I think I did a pretty good job of keeping in check the glazing over of my eyes as I accepted the latest addition to my collection. Don’t get me wrong, I like zucchini. But at this time of year, I don’t think I’m alone when I say their ability to go from blossom to behemoth beast seemingly overnight, multiplying like rabbits all the while, is a bit overwhelming. Continue reading

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    Category Recipes


  • Peach Tree
  • Saving basil seed: A Nufar-ious plot

    I’m really not trying to grow the most pathetic basil plant ever, despite what this looks like.

    I’m engaging in Operation: Saving Basil Seed. After all, my basil plant just spent the past two months providing me with the biggest, most pungent leaves I’ve ever seen, smelled and tasted.

    They were the star of pestos, the supporting actor in caprese salad, made cameos in roasted tomato sauce. And I want to harness that amazing-ness for seasons to come.

    My Nufar basil is actually brimming with life, even if it looks nearly drained of vitality. It’s packed into those brown, dried bits, in the form of seeds. Future generations of Nufar basil.

    It’s a variety of this quintessentially summer herb that I bought on an impulse, withholding hope for it only because I find basil a bit fickle to grow.

    It doesn’t grow because I water it too much. It doesn’t grow because I don’t water it enough. It turns to seed before barely giving me a leaf.

    Basil | Seed Saving

    But not Nufar basil, once bushy with leaves the size of my palm, and now picked to a lanky, lean shell of its former self. It kept growing all summer and giving me the best basil I’ve ever had.

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    Category In the Garden


  • Peach Tree
  • It’s a Basil Bash!

    Linda’s basil patch.

    By Linda Crago, Tree and Twig Heirloom Vegetable Farm
    There are many tastes from the garden that say “summer” as soon as you sniff them or sink your teeth into them. Beautiful, juicy ripe tomatoes, sassy hot peppers and milky sweet corn pulled off the stalk and devoured before it gets to the house.

    Then of course there is basil, best friend of tomatoes and garlic and versatile beyond your wildest dreams. (Did I get carried away there?)
    I’m not sure that any other herb defines summer quite as well.
    And for my first “event of summer,” before the big “Tomato Bash” Sept. 2 and the “Pepper Palooza”, date TBA, I’m holding a small celebration of this quintessential summer herb on Sunday, July 29, from 1-4 p.m. here at my small farm.
    We’ll begin by doing a little garden tour, followed by a tasting of the 50 plus basil varieties that I am growing this year. It’s hard to imagine they could be so different, but some of them truly are.
    I’ll also have some wonderful basil dishes available for you to taste, created by my special guest chefs.
    You’ll have a chance to purchase fresh basil as well as a selection of basil products…some of them may surprise you! Other produce will be available for purchase, too.
    Stay and linger over a glass of wine, visit and relax. Bring your lawn chair, sunscreen and visit the far reaches of Niagara. The other part of Niagara where small and interesting things happen.
    And basil grows!

    Heirloom garden tour, basil tasting, food samples created by guest chefs, a glass of wine provided or non-alcoholic beverage, purchase preserves and produce, visit and ask garden questions.

    When: Sunday, July 29, 1-4 p.m.

    Where: 74038 Regional Road 45 Wellandport. (But remember, for your GPS, I am actually in the Township of Wainfleet)

    905-386-7388 or email treeandtwig@sympatico.ca

    Cost: $15. CSA members get in free! Please pre-register by using the above contact information, but you can pay when you arrive.

    Attendance is limited, please let me know as soon as you can.

    Hope to see you here!

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    Category Food Finds, Uncategorized