Posted by: lisetta | August 25, 2009

Ocimum basilicum

My tomatoes got the blight, but my basil is doing very well this year. I’ve been snipping it regularly, chiffonade-ing it into tomato salads and sauteed zucchini, whirring it into pesto, gifting it to anyone whose path I cross as I walk from my garden back to my apartment. Sometimes I wash and dry my harvest immediately, packing the leaves into a freezer bag for a future dish. Other times I simply put it in a glass of water on my kitchen counter, so that its perfume scents my small space, reminding me that it is summertime. All the while aware that it will only be with me a few more weeks, I’m already starting to mourn its loss.

images-1While I grew several varieties if basil last year, this year I stuck with what I like best: genovese basil. Have made more pesto than I’ll be able to consume in a year, but still keep cutting it, figuring I’ll find a use. Basil syrup makes for a nice sweetener in sorbet. Mixed with cherry juice and seltzer water, it’s a refreshing alternative to the room temp water I typically drink.

According to the Herb Society of America:

In Italy, where sweet basil is called “kiss me Nicholas,” “bacia-nicola,” it is thought to attract husbands to wives, and a pot of basil on a windowsill is meant to signal a lover.

Curious, indeed. I’ve got a field of basil in my garden and no lovers in sight. So much for antiquated Roman beliefs informing modern life. Wish my field of basil would ‘signal’ a cycling partner.

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