Thursday, June 30, 2011

Garden, garden, who's in the garden?

In little Annie's garden
Grew all sorts of posies;
There were pinks, and mignonette,
And tulips, and roses.

Sweet peas, and morning glories,
A bed of violets blue,
And marigolds, and asters,
In Annie's garden grew.

There the bees went for honey,
And the hummingbirds, too;
And there the pretty butterflies
And the ladybirds flew.

And there among her flowers,
Every bright and pleasant day,
In her own pretty garden
Little Annie went to play.

-Eliza Lee Follen

Week of June 27

How it looked "before"

Our garden went through quite a beatdown by our recent hailstorm, but most of the plants are still hanging on.   

The cantaloupe continues to creep out into wide open spaces.

The tomato plants are as tall as me now (though that's not saying much!) and are loaded with green fruits. 

The boys can't wait to pick the peppers when they turn red.

The little pointy Christmas lights are baby okra.

Cinnamon Basil and Sweet Basil before their haircuts.

We harvested some basil and decided to try drying some.  After some research and a little trial and error, we learned an easy way to do this.  First, wash the freshly cut basil and lay it out on towels to dry.  Turn the oven on to 350 degrees, and then turn it off as soon as it reaches that temperature.  Pull the leaves off the stems and discard the stems.  Arrange the leaves on a baking pan, and put them into the warm oven. 

Check on the leaves every 5-10 minutes and stir them around a bit.  They will immediately begin to darken.  Your goal is for them to get dry, but not cooked or burnt.  You can feel whether the leaves are still moist, and you want to take them out as soon as they feel dry and are a dark greenish/purplish color.  Now for the fun part--
Set the pan out to cool, and once it is cool enough to touch, use your hands to crunch up the leaves. 

We mixed some basil with oregano which I had already dried to make Italian seasoning, and left some basil plain.  We used empty spice bottles as containers. 

We're looking forward to getting some tomatoes from the garden so we can use our homemade seasonings to make pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce.


Zonnah said...

Thanks for the tip on the basil! Your garden is doing so good!

Crisc said...

AWESOME garden!

Contessa Kris said...

Oh my goodness. I just harvested a HUGE bag of basil. I've been freezing mine but I need some dried. Thanks for sharing this easy way of doing that! Stop by my blog to see my garden when you have a chance!