The Grapevine: Wonders of Basil and a Recipe with It

By Rosalyn Queen on September 16, 2021 from The Grapevine via

As we roll through the days of September, we ready ourselves to wind down our gardening season.  I notice my tomato plant is ready to go with just a few little tomatoes left on the vine for me to enjoy.  But the one plant that is still hardy is my basil plant and I know from other years that if I bring it inside Inwill have fresh basil into December.
Speaking of basil I received a book on basil from a dear friend of mine, Wanda Ashcroft, from Shinnston, who was the former mayor.  Wanda and I go so far back it seems like we were friends from the beginning.  The book is titled The Basil Book by Marilyn Hempstead, founder of Fox Farms.
Most people will admit that the most popular use of basil is for pesto.  Pesto is a paste made by chopping the basil, placing it in a mortar and grinding it with garlic and salt. When it has reached the right consistency it is mixed with olive oil and then used with freshly boiled pasta.  This serves as a great substitute for red sauce on pasta.  When serving this dish you can ad a little bit of butter and top with Parmesan cheese. 
Some may think that basil originated in Italy but it is said to have come from Greece.  This makes sense because of the Greek influence in Southern Italy.  Locally the most popular basil is sweet basil with it’s large green leaves.  As it grows it produces a little flower on top which will produce the seed.  I would be remiss if I did not mention that their are many varieties of basil such as the red leaf, the French, lemon and many more.
Locally the most common use of basil is to enhance tomato sauces. It is used in the sauce used for canning peppers and most everyone uses it in their sauce for meatballs.  It’s sweet flavor will have a tendency to take the bitterness from the tomato, thus adding a sweetness to the sauce.
No basil story would ever be complete for me without adding the recipe for my tomato salad.  A fresh tomato, chopped onion, basil and olive oil, add a little salt with fresh Italian bread and manga. 
A little reminder, if you are overflowing with tomatoes, can the whole ones,  use them for a salad this winter.  This also works great for whole tomatoes in cans.Just remember to baby that basil for use this winter.
A big thank you to Wanda, a good friend lasts forever. I so admire you for your leadership especially to the City of Shinnston.
My cousin Thelma Ferrise reminds me weekly to stay out of crowds to fight the virus.  I am at the point that I hardly go out of my house.  I encourage you all to also adhere to restrictions better safe than sorry.
My sincere condolences to Nancy Richison and her family on the loss of Fred Allen.  I know her heart ache is so deep on the loss of her second son.  Nancy. If it helps know that I love you and am praying for you.
For me this is the best time of the year.  Fall is so beautiful with the leaves turning, hot days and cool evenings and of course those football games.
A Happy Birthday to my son in law, Dixon Pruitt and all those September babies.
Take care, stay healthy and until next week “Now You Have Heard It Through The Grapevine.”

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