I noticed white among the basil today. They were at it again, trying to flower. I had a long stretch of time before dinner ahead of me without anything in particular to do, so I decided the time had come to process the basil.

I went inside (with two more brickbat cucumbers; also my first, slightly split, Cherokee Purple tomato) and came back out with kitchen shears. Previously, I had only plucked leaves off the basil plants, and I wonder if that was why they were never terribly discouraged from flowering. At any rate, today I cut branches and branches, ending up with about four cups of basil leaves and trimmed but not emaciated-looking basil plants. I’ve been feeling that I haven’t made optimal use of my herb plants, and this feeling was reinforced by looking at what I could have gotten away with weeks ago.

I made two batches of pesto, one with tomato instead of olive oil and one with tomato instead of olive oil and half the basil replaced with parsley. This last one turned out to be very good; I froze some and left the rest out for dinner. And I chopped up the rest of the basil and tucked it in the freezer. I’m happy with my basil consumption now; I’m going to let at least one of the plants (there are four) go to flower now in peace. But the rest will still be pressed into service when I start to serve up the tomatoes.

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