Monday, October 13, 2008

Harvesting the Basil

Five basil plants are now reduced to four. The largest bush, the one in the grow bag, yielded about 8 oz of minced basil in oil produced by processing it in the blender. My wrists, arms and shoulders have had a workout.

It is amazing to see a rather good sized bush, a fair pile as it sits on tissue paper on the floor to be photographed, reduced to such a small quantity. I have seen its precedent in apples. Many years ago a friend gave me a paper grocery sack of apples from her backyard tree. I peeled and chopped and boiled and canned and had--four pints of apple butter. It was amazing. Essence of apple and I have never done it again, but am glad I did it that one time.

The basil is going to be like that. A small cinnamon basil, not part of the count of five, is drying on top of my dryer. I will attend to it tomorrow, stripping the leaves from the stems and placing them in a separate layer above the basil or the roses. (I am always drying roses, almost always drying something.)

So now there are four. One is temporarily residing in the house as a house plant. One will be cut tomorrow and laid out to dry. The other two, outside, I hope to nurture along for a little while longer.

It was cold over the weekend so the basil wasn't happy. That is why one is in the hall. The others, overgrown in their pots, were hooded with white plastic bags and kept warm. With warmer weather this week, I hope they will be fine.

I am grateful for the plants, for the harvest and for the fact that I had the good sense to harvest only one and split the basil processing over two days--keeping the branches that I hadn't gotten to yet in the refrigerator.

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