Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Basil | A Fresh Taste of Summer

Image Source: yearroundveggiegardener.blogspot.com
Spicy Bush Basil is bordering the Edible Kent beds. With countless varieties of basil available, we chose this variety since it makes a great edible border. Outside of its aesthetic appeal, this variety adds a little kick to recipes that your average Sweet Basil can't beat.

This basil can be harvested throughout the growing season. Currently our plants are in dire need of some trimming. They are growing tall, but not out in the globe-like appearance seen above. For this reason, we are encouraging our supporters and volunteers to head out and get some trimmings. All you will need are your fingernails or some scissors. When harvesting Spicy Bush Basil, you can pinch off the leaves (and stem) at the top, allowing light to get to the lower parts of the plant and helping it take on its preferred globe shape. If you're a visual person, please take a look at the video below. While this video covers harvesting Sweet Basil, the same rules apply to our Spicy Bush Basil. 

It's important to keep in mind that you don't want to harvest the basil during the hottest points of the day. A good rule to follow is to harvest during the early morning hours or in the cool of the evening.

Now that you know a little about our basil and how to harvest it, feel free to head downtown and get some for dinner tonight. :) Just make sure you take what you need, leaving some green goodness for others to enjoy.

If you're unsure on how to use your fresh basil for dinner, please see the recipe below. As always Edible Kent is here to help and educate others on sustainable food production, if you have any questions or concerns, please email us at ediblekent@gmail.com.

Happy Harvesting! x 

Spicy Tomato-Basil Sauce
By: Bon Appétit

  • 4 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes with added puree (from two 28-ounce cans), divided 
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts  
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil  
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion  
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced  
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (finely crushed in plastic bag)  
  • 3/8 teaspoon (or more) dried crushed red pepper  
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil, divided  
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine  
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Place 1 cup crushed tomatoes in blender. Add pine nuts and blend until very smooth, about 1 minute.

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, fennel seeds, and 3/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper. Sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining crushed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons chopped basil, wine, and oregano. Scrape in tomato mixture from blender and stir to combine. Simmer sauce until flavors blend, 5 to 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more dried crushed red pepper, if desired. (Note: Can be made 1 day ahead -- Cool, cover, and chill.)
Rewarm sauce. Mix in remaining chopped basil.
Makes about 4 1/2 cups

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Planting and Sharing with Love

Hello friends!

It's been more than a month since many helpful hands came together to clear and plant the Edible Kent beds. All of our produce and beneficial plants are coming along nicely.

Today, we gathered at the beds again for some general maintenance. The weeds have really enjoyed our amended soil, so had to be dealt with. Some of the plants were also ready to be harvested. We picked kale, rainbow chard, and onions. The kale and chard are great to harvest, since you only need to pick a couple leaves and keep the plant intact to produce more. Some of the onions were pulled as they seemed very eager to get out of the ground and onto the plate.

This has been such a great learning experience so far and we really appreciate our volunteers. Your hard work has made this vision and initiative possible.

Our Sunday Harvest to Share with Volunteers. :)
Note to Edible Kent harvesters and volunteers:
Outside of the harvesting and weeding, we did notice a few missing plants that were pulled out altogether. These may have been a weeding accidents, or someone who just didn't know that most of the plants in our beds don't need to be pulled to be properly harvested. The dandelion greens, for example, can be picked one leaf at the time. Leaving the plant to produce more for others to use. Our thyme was also missing. This is another plant that can simply be plucked, one at a time, allowing others to enjoy. There are only a couple plants that are harvested by one big pull and those are the onions, the celeriac, and the fennel (which aren't ready to harvest yet). Everything else can be harvested one leaf at a time. We understand that this is a learning experience for everyone involved, so if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email us at ediblekent@gmail.com and we will be happy to assist. :) Other than a couple (minor) hiccups, the beds really do look amazing, the plants are healthy and we owe this success to your support. Thank you! x