Preserving Basil

Just watched the Gators do their thing to South Carolina. They must be good based on being undefeated and taking down several nationally ranked teams but it never looks easy. The offense always looks unimpressive but somehow points keep going on the board. They have their final SEC game next week and it’s not impossible that they go undefeated in regular season play this year. Who’d have guessed it?

Big kitchen day. We did another 4 jars of jalapenos, bringing the season total to 12 pints. Not impossible that we’ll get another few jars before the plants are hit by a frost.
I really love the peppers but making them is not something to take lightly. The first time I really burned my skin; the second time I almost lost it breathing the fumes. This time, no problems, due to a technique my bride picked up watching The Chew. You hold the pepper by the stem with the bottom of the pepper resting on the cutting surface. Then you slice down along the outside of the pepper so you leave the nasty innards and seeds still attached to the stem. I messed up the first one or two but quickly got the it down and did several dozen with no burns, internal or external.

We also took a shot at preserving basil for use later. Basil is a really sensitive plant and will generally go with the first hint of frost. We’ve never tried saving basil before but the technique we’re trying is to chop it up with the food processor, mix with olive oil, and freeze in a bag. When you want to use it, you just snip off a piece. It must be really concentrated since we used as much basil creating one small bag as we have for all the uses combined since last May so I guess you just snip off a really small piece for lots of flavor.

The other big table event is that I picked the first green beans of the season – a mix of pole beans and bush beans. Those will join last season’s carrots in a special pot roast dish Nancy makes. I’m going to try to be diligent in picking beans as they mature rather than haphazardly as in the past. The problem with picking beans and peas is that they are hard to spot, being the same color as the leaves and the tendency is to miss them until they’re too big and tough. Also, if you keep them well picked, they will continue to blossom and put out more beans whereas if they mature on the bush before picked, the plant just stops producing. For the record, I planted the pole beans on August 28 and the bush beans on Sept 6 so from seed to the table took less than 2 months. I do have one other problem – the pole beans must be 12′ tall and I’m only 5’10”. I’m fully stretched out trying to reach the juiciest looking ones and have a mental image of impaling myself on the poles – that would really be embarrassing.

The garden is roughly three quarters planted now, space wise. I just planted a row of Lincoln garden peas for Christmas eatin’, a few collard plants and the rest of the Swiss Chard. It should be 100% filled by the middle of November with the planting of the Brussels and stay that way until next June. I have enough young seedlings that will be ready for transplant by mid November to start filling in for the fall crops as they mature and get converted to table toppings and compost. Pole beans will be replaced by beets, bush beans by Spinach and there will be a steady stream of new lettuce varieties as space permits.

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