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Beginner Vegetables: Basil, Oregano

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behillman
Plantersville, TX
(Zone 9a)

November 8, 2012
10:10 AM

Post #9327922

Has anyone successfully overwintered their basil & oregano? A freeze will be coming soon. I need to cut all my basil or cover it. If I were to cut it, could I just let it set out till it dries, then store in fridge? I stored some fresh cut in a plastic bag & it turned black. Is it still good to us?

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

November 8, 2012
10:24 AM

Post #9327930

Greek oreganno grows like a weed in my garden and laughs at cold weather!

As far as I know, basil will not over winter unless protected from frost. I let mine die, and reseed in the late spring.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

November 8, 2012
10:29 AM

Post #9327935

I Googled "Storing Basil"

http://girlgonemom.com/how-to-freeze-garden-fresh-basil/

http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2006/06/how-to-freeze-fresh-basil-weekend-herb.html

http://www.bonappetit.com/blogsandforums/blogs/badaily/2011/06/how-to-keep-basil-green.html


kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

November 8, 2012
10:30 AM

Post #9327936

If you wish to keep fresh basil for cooking- many freeze it into ice cubes, basil for the most part isn't happy being moved inside, and needs a pot with lots of space and deep enuff for a long taproot to survive. Some do better indoors than others, but are done best by seeds.
behillman
Plantersville, TX
(Zone 9a)

November 8, 2012
1:38 PM

Post #9328123

I read that basil can be cut & put in a vase of water. It can be kept on the kitchen counter for weeks. Sometimes it will grow roots, which then you can plant. Also, it can be dried by hanging upside down until it dries. Then store it in a airtight container. I guess I'll make myself some vases of greens & set them around as decoration until I use it up. Then I'll cover whatever remains outside & hope it makes it through the winter.

dreaves

dreaves
Hutto, TX
(Zone 8b)

November 8, 2012
3:07 PM

Post #9328188

They sell basil in the grocery store in tiny bags with a water reservoir, seems like it would fine at home.
,

kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

November 8, 2012
3:13 PM

Post #9328194

Got to change the water and keep it fresh! Away from drafts in the windows, and give it light indoors- would hate to pay the groc store lite bills...
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 10, 2012
3:35 PM

Post #9329861

I just keep mine by a window. But as far as I know Basil is an annual.
Easybake
Arlington, TX

November 11, 2012
9:56 AM

Post #9330319

It must need more light then it gets by my window casue it would grow for a while then die off.
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

November 11, 2012
10:10 AM

Post #9330328

Basil is pretty "iffy" in my experience. I only grow Greek Columnar Basil for the reason that it doesn't flower (usually) and won't need cutting seed heads off. I have kept it growing in water on a windowsill all winter, only to lose it in the spring when I pot it in soil. So this year I rooted it is potting mix and have the plant inside- so far so good, but it is sort of wimpy due to the indoor climate. If it will just survive I will be happy! We have a long winter ahead, and it has only started! I am anxious for the seed catalogs to start coming in the mail!

kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

November 11, 2012
9:03 PM

Post #9330789

Basil is an annual- hmmm- seems like it reaches a certain ht if ignored and then the mother plant dies and sprouts seeds for new plants- tho the least bit of cold and it's gone,
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

November 11, 2012
9:39 PM

Post #9330793

Basil only dies if it gets frozen-otherwise you can prune it back and keep it going.

drthor

drthor
Irving, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 13, 2012
7:20 AM

Post #9331956

behillman
I have preserved my Basil for many years. My basil plants always freeze and dye in our winter.
I normally have fresh basil from May until November, even if when it start to flower its flavor is reduced.
But the bees love the Basil's flowers ... so I normally leave a few plants for them until they will dye.

Here is what it works best for me and this technique preserve the Basil's flavor and most of all the bright green color.
1. Select the best Basil leaves and wash them
2. Bring a large pot to a boil (do NOT ad salt to keep the boiling temperature)
3. Cook the Basil leaves for 2-3 minutes, making sure that they are all under water.
4. Shock them on an ice bath until they feel cool
5. Drain them and squeeze out excess water. Also use a paper towel to absorb the water.
6. Put the whole leaf inside a small ziplock bag. Try to pack so the leaves are 1/4" thick and no more. So you are making what looks like flat rectangles.
7. Freeze bags one on top of each other (so they will stay flat)

When you will need some Basil in your cooking, you can just snap with your fingers a piece of the frozen Basil leaves. So yummy !
Jim41
Delhi, LA

November 16, 2012
9:50 PM

Post #9335213

I've always plant my basil in a pot. It does good and thrives as long as it is kept watered. I prune it back if it gets to tall or tries to flower. I have kept it growing for three or four years.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

November 27, 2012
8:44 AM

Post #9343732

If you planted it in a large pot, wrapped the pot for insulation, then tented it with some perforated plastic during the winter (Territorial Seeds sells an excellent product), it would get air, water, and sunlight, and possibly not freeze, perhaps?

Just a thought...
LiseP
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 1, 2013
2:00 PM

Post #9372548

Easy way to dry basil -- wash and dry basil stems and put into small paper lunch bag. Close the bag. You're done.

Okay, you can shake the bag every once in awhile if you want, it really doesn't matter. A few weeks later, open the bag and discover dry basil. It only takes a moment to push all the dried leaves off the stem. Put into a baggie or spice bottle. Laugh at spending $3 for a tiny jar of dried basil at the grocery store. :-)

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

January 1, 2013
9:21 PM

Post #9372872

"Laugh at spending $3 for a tiny jar of dried basil at the grocery store. :-)" ^^^^^

LOLOL!!! ^:-)^
gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

January 1, 2013
9:57 PM

Post #9372888

I have successfully used kittriana's method mentioned above of cutting up fresh basil, putting it in ice cube trays with a little water to hold it together. Once the ice cubes form I remove them and store in freezer bags. Then I just throw the cubes into sauces and stews or salad dressings as needed. Or I defrost the cube in a strainer and add the chopped basil to the salad. The basil retains its nice strong flavor and color. I've tried drying in the microwave and in a dehydrator but find the flavor is not the same.

drthor

drthor
Irving, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 2, 2013
9:24 AM

Post #9373157

This year I had an even better results using the method below, than to use the ice cube methods.
I did blanch for just one minute the whole Basil leaf. Shocked on an ice bath and dried them with a cloth.
Put the leaves on a zip lock bag. Push the air out and flat the whole bag, to be 1/4" tall.
Freeze.

When I need the Basil, I just break off a piece from this "frozen package".
The leaf maintains its bright green color and also its best flavor.

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