Saturday, September 8, 2007


I'm a little bit overwhelmed as I have so much to report. I am in Vermont with the garden which is approaching me for inattention. there are slew of overage green beans and I am going to make a soup also using some of the mountain of basil that has shown up.

Incidentally, the basil blossoms--mostly white-- are another goody to put on salads. When cutting basil for use or just cutting it back, use a scissors and cut at the base of the stem of a substantial sprig where a number of leaves come together promising new growth. Put the pasil in a small vase or a large glass filled with cold water. Leave in a shady spot.

There are literallyy almost a hundred different sorts of basil all Omnicum basilicum. The red leafed variety--which I no longer grow even though it is decorative--is Purpurascens and has pink flowers. I have given up on it because I find it relatively tasteless. When cooked, it turns a muddy brown. I grow bush basil. It's variety is minimum. Indicating the small leaves and the compact bush that makes a lovely border plant. One plant book I use, The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Gardening (there's a mouthful), indicates that has less flavor than the ordinary basil. I don't find it to be true and it is claimed both the Neapolitans and the Genovese who should know something. I also grow lettuce leaf basil which has a somewhat softer leaf than the regular kind and an attractive frilly shape. I don't off hand know the Latin name. I like to use these in sandwiches as they are easy to chew.

My research books are all in New York and I will supply more names, descriptions when I get back on monday. The other two that occur to me off hand are biblical basil and Thai basil. I have grown them both and tend to take pots of them indoors as my climate is too cold for basil to winter over. They grow into handsome largish bushes. Their leaves are used in Asian cooking. The Thai has a faintly cinnamon over taste.

Sppeaking of pots, on the Greek islands large olive oil cans with the top sawn off are routinely used as planters with large basil plants placed outside the door for good luck. A primitive belief in their sanctity has mainly precluded their use in cooking although recently that seems to be changing.

Go to the list of plant and seed resources on my web page, for more info and thoughts for next year's garden.

Soon there will be lots on The fabulous food in the area around Salzburg--rather new and somewhite unexpected. Also, a lot to come on the red wines of Austria which have turned good, even excellent, in much the manner of what the Spanish reds have accomplished and the Italian reds that mix non-traditional graped varieties.

When I get to hotels and restaurants, go to the Travel and Food section of the web site for names and addresses otherwise I will get too slowed down.

I have also taken a scad of relevant pictures and hope to learn enough to post them for info and pleasure. Do you car about phots--not my family.

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