Saturday, July 7, 2012

How to Store Basil

If your basil hasn't yet died from insufferable heat and/or dryness, well then, it might be ready to flower. And once it flowers people say that the flavor declines (although by my book, it's still pretty darn good). At any rate, you really ought to pick it and do something with it because if you leave a few leaves down at the bottom, you'll probably get a second rush of basil (provided you have plans to water for the rest of the summer), and you wouldn't want to miss that.

The problem is that suddenly you'll have a (hopefully) large cluster of basil and you will need to do something with this. And maybe you'll be babysitting friends' kids or making peach butter or going to work or staring blankly out your window (er, I mean, writing). Well, at any rate, there might be things that need doing. These things might even need doing for several days before you get to your basil. If you flop it on the counter and forget about it, well, you can probably dry it pretty effectively this summer. But that dried basil won't taste quite right in that pesto you were planning to make. Which is why I propose a basil bouquet.

Oh, sure, you can wash it and dry it and wrap it in paper towels in a Ziploc bag. This will buy you a few days. As will putting it in a glass of water in the fridge (which will inevitably be knocked over and/or drunk by your 2-year-old). But where is the fun in that?

Basil is actually a really pretty plant. And it smells great any time you brush against it. Put it in a glass or vase and position it by your window or, if you're feeling artsy-fartsy, throw a few zinnia in and put it right there on the dining room table. It always cheers me up. And it reminds me of itself (which basil in refrigerated paper towels does not). As a bonus, if you happen to forget about it long enough it will regrow its roots right there in your vase, and you could replant it if (okay, that's not a bonus, really, but it is interesting).

Then you can use it when you finally haul your four kids to the store to buy nuts--an errand which should take approximately 5 minutes, but which takes roughly 70,000. Now, go make some pesto. It will calm you down.

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