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Why does my fresh basil turn black? - Page 2

post #31 of 36

I regularly do the frozen pesto in the ice cube tray trick.  Everything but the cheese.  It holds its color just fine and is more pungent than the premade stuff.  It's farmer's market time here in the upper midwest and you can get great gobs of fresh basil for a song.  I make up large batches of pesto, freeze it in ice cube trays immediately and then shuck the frozen cubes into ziplock bags in the freezer.  Defrost, mix in your grated cheese and use.  You can add more oil if you need to when you add the cheese..

post #32 of 36

Hey, How about sage, I am a new organic gardener in that I am selling it now, been growing it for years. I just found out that my sage is turning black quickly when bagged in plastic bags. Other herbs do well. I am not washing it prior to packaging. Treating it very gently.  Any ideas?

post #33 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef Ladybug View Post

Foodpump, coating your basil leaves with oil is a great idea. Now I have an experimental sort of question I'd like to run by you. I've heard of coating your sliced apples with lemon juice in order to keep them from turning brown. Would lemon juice work on basil, as well? As much as I love basil (it's one of my favorite herbs), I don't grow them at home and thus never had a chance to try and see how my idea would work out.

Questionably,
Chef Ladybug.


I know someone else says this wouldn't work, but it does. I just harvested some basil from my hydroponics and didn't have a chance to even put it in water. I came back and both my regular and my Thai basil were limp and withered up. I made a cold water bath (no ice, just cold water from the tap) with a little lemon juice in it and submerged both, leaving there a good hour. When I came back in, the sweet basil looked like it had just been picked. The Thai basil had very slight edge browning, but still looked a lot better, and totally usable. I pulled and dried them, then had to leave again before using them and the same thing happened. I just threw both back in the water bath, and they still look great. I can't detect any change in the taste, either, after rinsing the lemon juice off.

 

I know the best way to keep fresh basil is not to refrigerate it: just put the stems in some water and keep it on a warm counter until you use it. Change the water out every day and it will keep a long time. The basil I harvested is going into the freezer, and I plan to try a few different techniques so I can see what works best. I know Ina Garten says she just processes hers in the food processor with water, dumps it in ice trays and tops the cubes with olive oil to keep it from oxidizing. I think I'll process mine with a little lemon and water, then do the same thing.

 

BTW, I've never been able to grow anything but lime basil until I turned to hydroponics. It is the easiest gardening I've ever done, uses a lot less water than regular gardening, and the basil grows like wildfire. The reason I harvested these is they were three feet tall and taking over the room. From two sweet basil plants I got enough basil that it would have cost at least a hundred dollars to buy in the store. The Thai basil would have been at least 70 dollars, and I only had the one plant to harvest from. This is the cheapest way to grow your own herbs and you can process and put up the extra for cooking, plus you always have fresh on hand for salads and sandwiches and such. I really recommend it. Heck, you could probably sell the excess, if you wanted, and even MAKE money on it!

post #34 of 36
Post a pic of your hydro setup please.
Maybe start a thread if you would explain it. Do you use lights? Im thinking of upgrading my indoor setup.

I love to use my basil whole, avoid the whole oxidation process. Nice garnish, pasta sauce, sandwich, salad. No need to chop much.
post #35 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by leemcb View Post
 


I know someone else says this wouldn't work, but it does. I just harvested some basil from my hydroponics and didn't have a chance to even put it in water. I came back and both my regular and my Thai basil were limp and withered up. I made a cold water bath (no ice, just cold water from the tap) with a little lemon juice in it and submerged both, leaving there a good hour. When I came back in, the sweet basil looked like it had just been picked. The Thai basil had very slight edge browning, but still looked a lot better, and totally usable. I pulled and dried them, then had to leave again before using them and the same thing happened. I just threw both back in the water bath, and they still look great. I can't detect any change in the taste, either, after rinsing the lemon juice off.

 

I know the best way to keep fresh basil is not to refrigerate it: just put the stems in some water and keep it on a warm counter until you use it. Change the water out every day and it will keep a long time. The basil I harvested is going into the freezer, and I plan to try a few different techniques so I can see what works best. I know Ina Garten says she just processes hers in the food processor with water, dumps it in ice trays and tops the cubes with olive oil to keep it from oxidizing. I think I'll process mine with a little lemon and water, then do the same thing.

 

BTW, I've never been able to grow anything but lime basil until I turned to hydroponics. It is the easiest gardening I've ever done, uses a lot less water than regular gardening, and the basil grows like wildfire. The reason I harvested these is they were three feet tall and taking over the room. From two sweet basil plants I got enough basil that it would have cost at least a hundred dollars to buy in the store. The Thai basil would have been at least 70 dollars, and I only had the one plant to harvest from. This is the cheapest way to grow your own herbs and you can process and put up the extra for cooking, plus you always have fresh on hand for salads and sandwiches and such. I really recommend it. Heck, you could probably sell the excess, if you wanted, and even MAKE money on it!


BTW, I finally got around to freezing the basil. I poured a little lemon juice in the processor, added some olive oil and then the basil and processed it. It came out a beautiful bright green. It stayed that way after freezing, too. Just FYI.  :-)

post #36 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefboyOG View Post

Post a pic of your hydro setup please.
Maybe start a thread if you would explain it. Do you use lights? Im thinking of upgrading my indoor setup.

I love to use my basil whole, avoid the whole oxidation process. Nice garnish, pasta sauce, sandwich, salad. No need to chop much.


Lord, I have no idea how to upload photos--nor do I want to learn! I just use the easiest one I could come up with. I bought some plastic tubs with lids from Home Depot and my husband cut holes in them for the 'net cups'. only I didn't use net cups. For smaller plants I used small styrofoam cups and for the larger, large styrocups. Filled these with a light layer of large aquarium stones on the bottom (after poking some holes) and then small aquarium gravel. I was worried these wouldn't be strong enough, but they've held up really well. If any do seem to start cracking at all, I just cut the bottom out of another styrocup the same size and slide it around the one cracking (you may have to slit it up the side as well if the roots have gotten big).

 

My hubby strung up some old aluminum pipe to use for the lighting and as trellising. He made me some makeshift fixtures just using some heavy yellow wire and some light sockets from Home Depot. I just use regular energy saver bulbs and they have been great. (There's a guy named Praxxus on YouTube that tells you what kind to buy, and he also gives some pretty good advice on the subject of indoor gardening, though not hydro specifically).

 

I have only used MaxiGro, both the regular and the kind for flowering so my peppers and 'maters would bloom, and it has been perfect. I don't use the flowering for my basil, and have only had it flower when it reached about 2&1/2 feet, when I pinched off the flower buds. I do have to use bottled water, because the water here is very bad--our vet told us not to give it to our animals if we wanted them to live. But hydro still uses WAY less water than any other type of gardening I've done.

 

I know a lot of folks make it seem like hydro is really complex, but it doesn't have to be. I don't even test PH because I use bottled water--the MaxiGro supposedly has something in it to help balance PH as well. I think I paid 11.00 each for the nutes on Amazon, and I still have half a bag of the regular and 3/4 of a bag of the bloom nutes after using since April of this year. I do use just some small aquarium pumps for the maters, peppers and Chinese broccoli and chard, though the basil and peppers don't really seem to need it so much. The only real trouble I've had is some kind of red mess that hit my peppers and dropped all their leaves; I bought some Neem and Sal's Suds and sprayed for a week or so and these went away. And you do have some mosquitos in a climate as hot as ours is. I used some dunks and took care of most of it. Hope that helps!

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