14 May 2011

The Saturday Snap...

I'm introducing this as a new feature on the blog - a regular weekend gallery for photos. I always have a camera of sorts to hand, whether indoors or out and can't resist pressing the shutter button! So, to start with, today's offering is...

Kitchen basil May

This is the basil that sits on my kitchen windowsill.  With the sun streaming through the window onto its leaves this morning, it inspired my Saturday shopping list towards salads and pasta dishes.  I happened to have a cup of tea in hand while I skimmed through the Waitrose Kitchen magazine for ideas (I love cooking but get bored eating the same tried and tested recipes) and, serendipitously, there was a small column about keeping potted basil at its best:

  • Keep in a well-lit, protected area away from cold draughts.
  • Water when the leaves start to wilt and the compost is dry - it only needs a little water, especially in winter.
  • Stress the plant by not giving it too much warmth and light - it will fight harder to survive and this strengthens the flavour. 
  • When using the leaves, tear them off with your hands as using scissors or a knife may blacken the stem and bruise the leaves.
  • To encourage bushy growth, occasionally cut back the stems to just above a pair of new side shoots.

Apparently too much water will dilute basil's flavour so it's best to try not to water it for a day before using - something I was previously unaware of.

By doing all of the above, I've managed to keep one basil plant (supermarket bought at the beginning of 2010) going right through the winter months! (Admittedly, it has just about had it now and, once they've flowered, the leaves turn bitter.)

I've most recently used basil in a make-it-up-as-you-go-along pasta dish which turned out surprisingly well and was a big hit with my teenager.  If you want to give it a go, I've typed up the recipe here.


  1. A good, and helpful, post to start this new feature off with! I look forward to future ones with interest. Flighty xx

  2. Thank you Flighty - I always appreciate your feedback! It will be interesting to see where inspiration strikes next Saturday! Caro x

  3. Thank you, I always have terrible trouble with basil, and thanks to this post I now understand why, I water it too much. It gives me hope.

  4. I'm glad you've found it useful Janet. I think I always over-watered basil and didn't understand that until I moved it to my bedroom windowsill where it has a steadier temperature than my kitchen and is further away from the tap!

  5. I love the smell of basil when it grown outside but when I have tried it indoors in the kitchen I am not too sure if it doesn't smell a bit like cat... or is that my strange sense of smell? Thank you for the information about how to look after it, maybe that is where i have been going wrong.

  6. hi just to let you know I have left a Blog award for you on my blog. Amanda x

  7. I have failed miserably with any attempts at Basil - but if I follow you tips I should have more chance at not killing them! Thank you for this! Think I'm definately going to pick up one from the supermarket soon. Not sure why, but Blogger decided to delete your comment - very rude! Yes, the whole crochet a whole blanket in May seemed very reasonable on the 1st, when I had never crocheted before and hadn't realised how long it actually takes! Seat cushion is still in waiting.

  8. I didn't know half of that!

    Our basil isn't looking too healthy at the moment so I might try a bit of pruning.

    PS I love how you've put the text on the photo.

  9. Another over-waterer here, I'm sure I've killed a few basils in my time by drowning them. It all makes sense now, my basil seems to do better when slightly neglected.

  10. Great photography!

    I never have much luck with Basil compared to other herbs, always willing to try and try again though!!

    Martin :)

  11. Thanks for all the comments everyone! I'm pleased the info has been useful - It seems we're all guilty of killing our herbs with kindness!

    Martin and Amy, hello and welcome! Lovely to meet you and I have enjoyed reading your blog.

    Amanda, thank you for the award, I know just who to pass it on to... Spread the love, I say!

    Caro x


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