There’s nothing quite like fresh herbs. Picking them from the garden, and then actually using them to cook with and eat is pretty incredible. My nana Brown has a few huge basil plants in her back yard, along with some dill, and sage plants. Me, my mom, and little brother Michael got to pick some. Her backyard looks like a scene out of Barney because it’s so perfect. With a red wooden fence wrapping the perimeter, telephone lines with squirrels running on top, a bed of elevated soil lined with rocks along the far wall of the yard. A watering can always on the concrete patio. And plush green grass covering the ground. Picking stems off of each plant was really relaxing and fun, especially with family.
Here’s a little about each herb we picked.
- Sage – Can boost cognition and concentration. Is known to treat inflammation. Has antioxidant properties, improves bone & skin health. This herb can be dried, then chopped. It’s best used with meat dishes such as chicken or pork.
- Dill – May reduce menstrual cramps. Boost energy and aids digestion. Could help with depression. Can protect against free radicals. This herb is great as a garnish on top of salmon.
- Basil – Contains antioxidants. Is an anti-inflammatory. Has natural antibacterial properties. Can help prevent free radicals. Acts as a natural stress reliever. Can be used in pesto, caprese salads, in pasta, breads, or pastas.
Nana has been tending to the plants since May, and says it’s the most basil she’s ever had in one season. She says the fresh leaves will brown quickly, and when you make pesto with them the leaves boil down to nothing. We ate some fresh watermelon slices with basil on top that nana prepared, and the sweetness mixed with the mint of the basil was really refreshing. Even though nana says the basil boils down to nothing, I’d say we picked more than enough! I had to double the pesto recipe below to use up my whole basil harvest. I have so much extra, nana recommended freezing what I don’t need in ice cube trays. Then taking out what I need and thawing it as I go. Below is the pesto recipe I ended up using.
- 3 cups basil packed lightly
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 c pine nuts
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- 3 cloves garlic
- salt & pepper
- 1 Tbs lemon
- Rinse and dry basil leaves.
- Add all ingredients to food processor and puree until pesto forms a fine mixture.