I shared this wonderful technique exactly one year ago here at The Café. Since we’ve had so many new friends visiting in the past twelve months and with Spring being right around the corner I didn’t want anyone to be without a plethora of delicious fresh basil this warm weather season. Don’t worry, we’ll be sharing tons of delight recipes to utilize your treasure trove too.
Have you heard of the well known saying “You can never be too rich or too thin?” I have to say, I most heartily disagree with both of these premises. With so many young, beautiful girls suffering from social-induced image problems, like bulimia and anorexia, it breaks my heart that a thin, lean body has become an icon of female beauty. The most beautiful women I know range from being short, tall, large, small, young, old and all places in between!
And as far as material possessions, well, I think Solomon, known as “the wisest of all men”, sums it all up quite nicely; “Give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich I may deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name”.
Now basil, well, that’s a whole different story. Although we grow a lot of basil each summer, it seems like I could always use more. One of my favorite recipes ever, Sweet Basil Vinaigrette calls for a quarter pound of basil – have you ever seen how much basil it takes to make a quarter pound!?
I use fresh basil quite extravagantly in my cooking; garnishing and even decorating (I love having a big, fresh bunch of basil sitting on my kitchen counter in lieu of fresh flowers!). As spring and summer cuisines come into season (sorry Australia and all of you living in the Southern Hemisphere!), you will see tons of recipes on my blog that call for this lovely, fragrant, delicious herb. And that’s why I’m sharing this wonderful tip with you today that most people are unaware of.
I was wandering through my local Whole Foods Market the other day, when some beautiful basil plants caught my eye. They were fresh, tall and full, and…… well like I said, just plain beautiful. They were priced at $2.50 (very reasonable for those of you using different currencies) each and I quickly snatched one up and and tossed it into my basket. My heart skipped a few beats because I knew exactly what I was going to do once I got home.
I cut up the plant into little pieces! What in the world? Did you know that basil is very easily propagated? Yes, if you cut it up correctly, you can get a bunch (I got twelve!) of lovely basil plants for your spring/summer enjoyment, out of just one plant.
If you can’t use a lot of basil plants, go ahead and root them anyway – use the little plants as gifts to your “foodie” friends – they’ll be thinking of you quite fondly all summer long! 🙂
P.S. Speaking of fresh basil, be sure to check out last Friday’s post; A Spring-Inspired Salad: Baby Bok Choy, Butter Lettuce & Blackberry Salad w/ Avocado & Basil-Honey-Ginger Vinaigrette. The vinaigrette is so delicious you might be tempted to drink it!
A Wonderful Recipe: Fresh Basil Plants 12 for $2.50!!!
1 large, full, healthy basil plant, either potted or hydroponic
kitchen scissors or a sharp knife
small glass container
1. Begin this process no more than 2-3 weeks before it is safe to plant basil in your climate zone which is usually when temperatures will consistently remain above 50˚ at night, the days are warm and sunny and there’s no danger of frost.
With a kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, cut 3-4 inch cuttings (they may end up being a bit longer, depending on where the first leaf node is) right below a leaf node; this is where a leaf joins the main stem.
2. Remove leaves off cuttings on the lower 2 inches.
3. Place cuttings in small clear glasses of water on a bright, sunny (not hot) window sill. You can put 1-2 cuttings in each glass. Watch the water levels carefully, adding water to keep stems immersed. Change the water every other day to keep it fresh.
4. After 5-7 days you will begin to see some tiny white roots forming. Each day more and more will appear. Let the roots grow to about 2 inches. This will take about 2-4 weeks, from start to finish. You are now ready to plant your plants outdoors in a sunny spot.
~ The cuttings may look a bit droopy after a day or so. They are just adjusting to a new environment; keep the water level full and be sure to change the water every other day. A little warning; sometimes one or two of the “little offspring” just don’t make it – it’s too shocking for their system – you should have plenty of others though, that do just fine!
~ Don’t be snitching basil during this growing period. That’s a good way to put them into irreversible shock (I’m not, I’m really not telling you this from personal experience ………..oh dear, my nose is growing!)
~ For more information on planting and growing basil check out this informative website.
~ Fresh herbs love lots of water, especially in the hot summer months. They will wilt, droop and their growth will be stunted if they don’t receive enough moisture. I am very forgetful and lazy when it comes to watering plants. Years ago, my husband devised an ingenious system that keeps my herbs healthy and beautiful during the scorching summer weather we experience here in the Carolinas. Check out this post and you’ll be able to see for yourself how this simple and ecologically efficient drip system works!