Sunday, July 08, 2007

We're Freezing Fresh Basil Here: Garden Update #6

Here's the latest update from Kalyn's garden, which is completely full of weeds, since I've been seriously distracted by having two young visitors. Let me just say that I have new-found respect for any mother with young kids who writes a food blog! We had lots of fun, and they're incredibly good kids, but now I'm trying to catch up on the blog, cooking, and weeding the garden! You can click the label 2007 Garden Updates at the end of the post to see how the garden is progressing. (As always, links to commercial sites are merely to provide information about that type of plant, and not an endorsement of the site.)

The exciting news this week is that my four purchased basil plants were so big I did a serious trimming and ended up with 11 small containers of chopped basil in olive oil to go in the freezer. Each of these containers has about 4-5 tablespoons of chopped basil, so that's a lot of basil! I'll use this all winter to replace fresh basil in things like Italian Sausage and Zucchini Soup or Basil and Parmesan Rice with Pine Nuts. If you have basil in your garden here's how to freeze fresh basil.

These are the basil plants I started from seed, which are already getting big enough to start using the basil. I now have a nice patch of basil by my back door, which is a wonderful thing!

Hooray! The first Brandywine tomatoes have finally appeared. The two plants I purchased have multiple clusters of tomatoes like this. Brandywines are famous for having bumpy "shoulders" on the tomatoes. The volunteer Brandywines don't have any tomatoes on them yet, but they have lots of blossoms.

Finally my first red tomato, a tiny cherry tomato. I might have taken a better photo, but I'd already eaten the tomato by the time I realized it was so out-of-focus.

I planted eggplant as kind of an afterthought, and I wasn't sure if they were getting enough sun in the corner of my garden. Something is eating the leaves, but some eggplant flowers have appeared, so possibly I'll have eggplant to grill.

The wonderful 8-Ball Zucchinis continue to be good producers. I have lots of good recipes for zucchini, but so far this summer my favorite is the new recipe for Cheesy Zucchini with Garlic and Parsley.

Finally some tiny yellow squash have appeared. I love to make "Creamed" Zucchini with a mixture of yellow squash and zucchini, so I'm hoping to have yellow squash soon. By the way, if you have lovely squash blossoms like this in your garden, I just wrote about recipes using squash blossoms at Blogher.

The Really Big Squash are getting really big! The plant is spreading out a lot too, and I'm not sure how well it's going to co-exist with the volunteer Brandywines.

This is my Silver Thyme plant with tiny purple flowers on it, which shows why some people use thyme as an ornamental plant as well as an herb.

Finally, I rarely show my flowers since this is a food blog, but this Bee Balm is one of my very favorite flowers. This one is in my front yard, with some yarrow peeking out behind it.
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19 comments:

  1. You have given me a great idea on freezing the basil in little containers. Thanks for another great tip!

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  2. The basil in my garden is incredible. Maybe I should try selling it. I have so many volunteer plants that came up and they're all getting huge. Still, I enjoy it just in a vase by the sink and on the table.
    Love your tomatoes and the zucchini!

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  3. You have quite a little production there. Your garden is yeilding nicely, too.

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  4. What darling little containers!
    Makes me want to run out and freeze stuff!
    With our cold spring/summer everything is growing at the proverbial snails pace so it will be awhile before anything goes in my freezer...

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  5. Oooh, such cute containers! Your basil is a bit ahead of mine, so I'll save this for inspiration as my plants get a big larger.

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  6. Oh, Kalyn, I miss having a real garden! But I have bought 5 purple basil plants that are doing quite well. Thanks for the tip on freezing it! I never knew you could do it like this.

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  7. Thyme is great. I have it all over my garden. It smells good and spreads to fill in cracks, etc. I love bee balm as well but I have only seen it with red flowers. Yours is lovely.

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  8. Love the new banner! Its fabulous.

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  9. So wonderful and exciting! I love garden pics. I will post some of mine soon. Meanwhile thanks for the basil-preserving tips. Any tips for preserving other herbs? I've never tried this before, this will be the first year. I have so many herbs that are already starting to fade, before I've gotten to use them in cooking, so I need to start figuring out ways to freeze them.

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  10. EMWK, glad you like the idea. I've been doing this for years, and having that basil in the winter months is wonderful.

    Tanna, I'm so jealous you have volunteer basil!

    Kelly, thanks.

    Katie and Lydia, I got those containers years ago and have definitely gotten a lot of use out of them. Try this when your basil gets really growing.

    Toni, I keep meaning to grow some purple basil. Does it taste any different?

    Candy, isn't thyme just the best smelling plant. I have a few red bee balm too, but they weren't as lush looking as the purple ones when I took the photos.

    Katerina, thanks, it's the fabulous Rand who does the banners.

    BTB, I posted last year about how to freeze thyme and rosemary. I've also frozen bay leaves and sage. I haven't tried other herbs, but I've heard that you can freeze parsley and cilantro,and probably others. Let me know if you try any.

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  11. I love the freezing basil idea. I must do it this year. I just planted my basil. I can't wait to use it.
    Your garden is looking great.

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  12. Oh! I love that vegetable garden Kalyn, I am feeling jealous :( coz I live in an apt and cannot grow plants as we don't have a patio/balcony.
    You garden pics are beautiful, so cooking organic?
    Padma

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  13. Your garden is coming along so nicely! I've been freezing some basil too in ice cube trays.

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  14. I am so jealous of your garden! It looks like it is coming along nicely.

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  15. How is it that you are SO DAMN TALENTED?!?! I can't even keep a plastic plant happy.

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  16. Chigiy, the frozen basil is wonderful for winter soups and sauces, and I use it a lot in vinaigrette too. I bet you'll love it.

    Padma thanks.

    Amy, are you mixing your basil with oil? I'm curious about how just chopped basil would freeze (if it turns dark.)

    Kristen, thanks.

    Jaden, I've been gardening for a long time and my house has really good soil. Utah also has great sun. But sometimes I do have plants that don't do well.

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  17. Your bee balm looks delightful Kalyn. And those 8-ball zucchinis look like they'll be fun to cook with. Great garden!

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  18. I have tried and tried to grow eggplant.

    I guess I'll try again next year so your blooms have me envious.

    I want it for parmesana which I love..I guess I'll sub summer squash this year.

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  19. Thanks for the gardening related posts. Despite the fact that I'm a few months behind and it's now winter, you're post has really got me wishing for the summer so we can get our garden going again. We ended up with lots of summer squash but didn't particularly have a lot of recipes for it but now we'll have some ideas for cooking in 2008!

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Thanks for joining the conversation! I love hearing from readers and even though I can't always reply to every comment, I will always answer specific questions on a recipe as soon as possible.

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