The Grapevine: Recovering from Bronchitis and Some Vegetation Therapy with my Garden Friend Basil

By Rosalyn Queen on July 27, 2023 from The Grapevine via

Please allow me to say this once again. “The Old Gray Mare, She Ain’t What She Used To be.”
After that wonderful family wedding we had earlier this month and after nursing myself through bronchitis I certainly know that my age has taken a toll on my activity.  I am still smart enough to know that I require rest and care to return to some sort of normalcy in my life.
I never knew bronchitis had such terrible symptoms, that it was contagious and took a while to get over it, getting it right in the middle of the wedding plans. Kind of put the brakes on my activities.  But now I think I am on my way to recovery and that normalcy will return soon.  
I am at the end of my medication and am curtailing my activities.  I confined myself at home for several days but learned that my son Marty had it and then it seemed to pass it on to my former husband Fray.  So now that we will not reinfect each other, we wear masks, disinfect everything we touch and stay as far away from each other as we can.
In order to keep my strength up I decided to work in my little porch garden on a recent morning.  I had a few tomato plants that needed ties and I needed to trim my pepper plants.  In the same container as my pepper plants are my basil plants and they are producing a bumper crop.  I do not know what I like best – smelling them or eating them in a tomato salad.
While I was out there working, I remembered a basil book that Wanda Ashcroft sent to me several years ago.  I keep it handy because not only does it have great recipes, but it also has many other stories and uses of basil.
I wanted to share with you two ways to preserve basil for use this fall and winter.  First pick the large leaves from the tops of the plants, wash them, and let them dry.  Take a wide mouth pint and layer the leaves to the top of the pint.  Cover the leaves with a good brand of oil and put the lid on the jar.  If it does not seal, keep them in the refrigerator and be certain the leaves are covered at all times with the oil. This is a wonderful way to add fresh basil to your fall tomato salads.  Also, if you are making bruschetta.
I found another way to preserve basil in the book and this will certainly be easy for those of you who use the salt method in the crock.  I would suggest getting as small a crock as possible.  Pass on a hint, I get the crocks from discarded crock pots, and they work well and are usually inexpensive.  Place about a half inch of salt in the bottom, being sure to use canning salt and not table salt.  Layer the dry leaves by placing salt between each layer, when at the top, cover with a plate and place a weight on the plate.  As you use it, it may be necessary to add salt to the top of the crock.
In future columns I will share with you some of the other uses of basil.
I wanted to thank Rose Scolapio who shared some of her vegetables from her garden with me.  First, I had a batch of that wonderful Swiss Chard and then a mess of hot peppers with cabbage and zucchini.  There is nothing better than fresh vegetables from the garden.
A reminder that the. Clarksburg Farmers Market is open and has a good selection of fresh vegetables and fruits.
A happy 95th birthday to Phyl Charnes.  Many more in good health.  Also celebrating birthdays are Laura Goff Davis and Betty Waddy.
Stay cool and until next week “Now You Have Heard It Through The Grapevine.”

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