It was so hot outside the past two weeks that our yard really got neglected. We finally got caught up this weekend with the weeding and mowing, which gave us some time to observe the things that were still doing well and those that weren’t. Soon it will be time for cutting back and transplanting. J cut back all the mint today which is over 50% of our herb garden because we really let it get out of hand this year. I loved snipping it and putting it in sun tea though. We also dried quite a bit for the winter.
But cutting it back helped us to see how well the basil was doing! One plant had grown about three feet tall and two feet wide. We grew three types of basil this year: regular basil, lemon basil, and lime basil. The lemon and lime were in a large flower pot. The heat really got to them and they aren’t doing very well now.
But we did a great job of keeping them from going to seed. You do this by clipping off any flowers. Once they flower, they stop growing. That’s probably why the regular basil got so tall. I had put some of the regular basil in strawberry jam a few weeks ago. That’s what I think I like about basil so much. It’s very versatile for sweet or savory dishes.
Though I’m pretty much ready for the summer to be over, I didn’t want that basil to go to waste. So, I clipped a bunch of it and brought it in to be dried. The food dehydrator we bought last year has really gotten some use! And I filled all four trays with basil leaves and still had some left over. So I decided to make herb vinegars.
Two years ago we bought two dozen glass bottles and whipped together a whole bunch of fancy herb vinegars. We even shipped some to friends. But we found that we much preferred the more simple vinegars that had one single herb in it instead of two or three blended together.
Herb vingers are simple to make. You just need vinegar and fresh herbs. I washed the basil, poked the stems and leaves down into the bottles, and then filled the bottles with white vinegar. You can use apple cider vinegar if you want. Let the vinegar sit in a cool dark space for a week or two, and then it’s ready to use!
We used our previous herb vinegars mostly on salads or in cool dips. You could splash it on vegetables – cooked or raw. I think I’m going to use my basil vinegar as flavoring for soups or pastas this winter. The good news is it keeps for a long time. I feel good knowing all that basil didn’t go to waste! I still have plenty to pick if anyone wants some!