Thursday, June 24, 2010
Sweet basil,the mainstay herb of summer,is under attack from an aggressive fungal disease named downy mildew. In the home garden, leaves showing early stages of the disease can be harvested for fresh use. The disease is not toxic to humans, but a leaf in decline soon becomes unappetizing to the eye. The effects first appear as faint yellow bands on the upper surfaces of the leaves. The lower leaf surfaces become dotted with tiny gray specks. Pick and use your basil as early as possible, consider drying or blending with a bit of oil until you have a thin paste. Pour the paste into ice cube trays and freeze. Then pop frozen basil cubes out and store in air tight zip style freezer bags or sealed containers. When you need "fresh" basil pop out of the freezer and into your soups, sauces or pesto. Presto Pesto!