Basil Gone Wild
Realization Of The Day:
I think I'm just going to let this giant volunteer patch of basil go to seed. I have plenty more in the garden (including some very young volunteer plants that popped up where the pole beans were supposed to). And besides. . .
It's not as if it isn't being used. (I'll give up my basil to pollinators any day. They literally mean the world to us. As for Bear--well, he usually treads pretty lightly. Plus he's really cute.) Many thanks to all of you who took the time to let me know your thoughts and experiences regarding using blooming basil in the kitchen.
Minding The Moonsigns:
Don't forget that Friday the 11th, Saturday the 12th, and Tuesday the 15th are all fertile days in the third quarter--the perfect time to put seedlings into the ground or move potted plants into roomier quarters. (Click here if you're wondering what this is about.)
I was feeling optimistic (plus I was tired of having old packets of seeds hiding everywhere) so I did go ahead and start some seeds last Tuesday (fertile second quarter day). Four entire full beds of them! I have to admit, though, that I don't have real high hopes for fall crops. (What fool plants 70-day pole beans less than two months before the first expected frost? Oh, wait, that would be me.) But I do have notes on what went where in case something decides to show up and survive.
Okay, I don't exactly have notes, but, like I usually do, I piled the seed packets on top of one another in the order I planted them in each bed. But then I went one step further--I held the ordered packets together with clothespins. Now as long as I remember which bundles of seeds went in which raised beds, and where the seeds on the top packet went, I'll be fine. I know. I'm supposed to be recording all my planting information here. That was the whole reason for starting this garden blog. And I will. Maybe tomorrow. Today I had more pressing (and more interesting) things to write about first. Which leads me to. . .
Out Of My Inbox: In A Pickle!
I thought my pal Katherine, who lives on Apifera Farm ("where animals, art, and lavender collide") knew how to do everything. I mean, she rides a horse, tends the 4700 lavender plants she and her husband planted, has a wonderful way with words on her farm blog, is an acclaimed artist, quietly created a rapidly growing peace movement with her animals, and can even bake a mean blackberry pie.
But it turns out she has absolutely no idea how to make a pickle. Here is an excerpt from the (dare I say desperate?) email I received from her:
"I can't find any basic pickling recipes in my Joy of Cooking or basic cookbooks. Perhaps they think any farm wife should already know how to do this...
I want to pickle my little cucs... and my finger beets - do you have any archive recipes?
Don't you love the word pickle?"
I do not have any pickle recipes in my blog archives, and I know nothing about pickling beets (and yes, now that she mentioned it, I do love the work 'pickle.' I even had a cat once named Pickles who had a brother named Onions.) The first summer I was at Windridge Farm I put up something like 37 quart jars of garlic dill pickles. I don't recall putting up any since then (is it any wonder?), but I offered to hunt down my old recipe for her. I also mentioned that if she only has a few cucumbers, refrigerator pickles might be the way to go. (Personally I like how they stay crisper because the cucumbers don't cook during the canning process, and I refuse to add alum--which is basically aluminum--to the jars to help them stay crisp. Plus refrigerator pickles are easier to make.)
I then offered to ask you all for help, and she was thrilled.
"I would love to see recipes! I think I want to try the long version/jar version - but I'd be curious about the fridge ones too for the ease of it..."
So how about it? Does anyone have a favorite pickle recipe they would like to share? And remember--she wants to pickle her little beets, too. I'm sure we can come to her rescue. And then I'll be able to go back to assuming she knows how to do everything, and the world will feel right again.
Thanks in advance for your help. And who knows? You might even convince me to start making pickles again. (Has anyone ever pickled lemon cucumbers? I think I'm going to have quite a few very soon.)