Monday, July 11, 2016

Basil vs. Zucchini

Every year at this time we pause to make a few notes regarding the hits and misses of our backyard garden, so we can do better next year. Like we said we'd do last year.

Basil and zucchini were big producers this year. But what if you don’t have room for both? Let this chart help you decide which to plant next year, and which to let go, until a big bag of money falls in your yard and you can afford an estate that comes with a gardener.


Basil
Zucchini
Planting
Medium basil plants are easier to start than seedlings, which may dry too quickly or get eaten by rabbits.
Planting
Save money by planting zucchini from seed. It grows easily. Like crabgrass. It may show up in your garden even if you don't plant it.
Growing
Keep basil watered. It wilts under direct hot sun, but thrives in partial sun to light shade.
Growing
Zucchini is maintenance-free and spreads easily, like ebola. Avoid planting too close to a tree—zucchini vines may grow up the trunk and pull it over.
Uses
Pesto, of course. Julienned leaves of fresh basil are a dreamy addition to caprese, bruschetta, pizza and pasta sauces.
Uses
Zucchini is edible when crusted with panko and sautéed in garlic and butter. With enough butter, garlic and panko, you can also eat shoelaces.
Flavor
Basil has an intense flavor somewhere between licorice and heaven. It is best fresh, so add it near the end of sauce recipes.
Flavor
Zucchini can be substituted any time a recipe calls for fresh cardboard.
Nutrition
Basil is a fat-free vitamin powerhouse, a good source of Vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, trapezoid and xylophone.
Nutrition
95% of the nutritional elements in zucchini are in the dark green skin, which you cut off and throw away. A single zucchini has as much fiber as 2 cups of cardboard.
Preserving
Basil is always best fresh. Any unused leaves will keep for up to a week in the fridge if you wrap them in a damp paper towel. Pesto can be frozen and used through the winter.
Preserving
Wrap 5lbs of zucchini in a paper bag, with “A gift of our bounty!” written on the outside, and leave it on a stranger's front porch. Any leftover zucchini can be stored in a dumpster.
Favorite recipe
Finely chop basil leaves, garlic, tomato and black olives. Set aside. Stir a little basalmic vinegar, anchovy paste, oregano and a dash of cayenne into 1/4 cup of virgin olive oil, and toss in the chopped basil mixture. Spread over toasted baguette.
Favorite recipe
Peel 3 zucchini and dice into half-inch cubes. Set aside. Finely chop basil leaves, garlic, tomato and black olives, then stir in a little basalmic vinegar, anchovy paste, oregano, a dash of cayenne and 1/4 cup of virgin olive oil. Spread mixture over toasted baguette. Discard zucchini.

Reprinted from Food & Spirits Magazine