Spring on the Winter Windowsill

You know that I love winter, don’t you?  I know.  Crazy.  Nevertheless, I do.  Maybe one of the reasons is that I’m very blessed with sunshine that spills in through my windows even during the wintry months.  However, the one thing I do miss in the winter are fresh herbs from my herb garden.  I enjoy using dried dill in the winter months – it adds such a touch of freshness to fish, potatoes, vegetables!  There is one fresh herb I do truly miss in the winter – basil!  Basil is just wonderful on pasta, chicken…and pizza.  I confess that one of my favorite things is a big cheese pizza, basil (chiffonade or just layer whole leaves on the pizza), and top the baked pizza with a drizzle of olive oil and pepper flakes!!  So yummy!  It’s a mouthful of spring!

Each spring we start a healthy young basil plant in the front herb gardens and they become prolific and so delicious smelling.  Just walking past them and ruffling the leaves gives such a distinct scent to my hands and the air.  I use it so much in my spring and summer cooking, and there are times I really miss its freshness and vibrancy in the wintry months.

The last couple of times we were visiting my mom’s I noticed that perched in her sunny window above the sink she had a small glass full of basil cuttings that were rooting!  I found it remarkable, and she commented that just before the last frost she couldn’t bear to see all the basil go so she took a few cuttings and put it in a glass.  Not long afterward, she noticed it had rooted in her glass.

Inspired, I decided to do the same.  I had one small problem — it is well past our first frost here — all my basil is long gone!  Then I remembered that you can usually pick up snippings of fresh basil in the local grocery store…and that’s just what I did!  I picked up a couple of small plastic packages of sweet smelling basil at the market this weekend.

Hopeful, I trimmed the bottom leaves from the bottom of the stems, gave the entire collection of leaves and stems a rinse, and dropped the stems in a vase.  While making dinner I noticed that they were altogether bedraggled looking, their leaves limply hanging over each other and the side of the vase in a wet blob of green.  sigh.  I wondered if trimming the very ends of the stems would assist the little plants in drinking water.  I trimmed about 1/4″ from the end of each stem and within an hour they were looking perkier.  By the next morning, the vase looked and smelled beautiful with a bouquet of basil!

Spring on my kitchen counter!

So, next autumn, as you’re thinking of tucking your gardens in for the winter, take a few cuttings of basil to over-winter on your counter.  What a delight!

Lunch today — spring on a sandwich — basil with sprout and avocado sandwiches drizzled with olive oil and red wine vinegar!

Edited to say…change of lunch plans…I didn’t realize I had a smackerel of bruschetta left from making chicken bruschetta the other night…so….my delectable lunch was bruschetta atop angel hair pasta!  Look how yummy!


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  1. Basil is definitely my favorite herb, too! What a great idea to take cuttings…I'm going to have to try this! Thanks, Jen. You know I love your blog!

  2. What a great idea! You are making me solo hungry! I wonder if Trader Joes has any plants for sale anymore? I could just keep them inside. Otherwise your idea is magnificent! Have you ever tried Basil Lemonade? Sooo good! We get it at the farmers market in the summer, but I'm sure there is probably a recipe online.


  3. That platter of tomatoes, avocado and basil would be several differnt raw meals for me! I am thinking up recipes as I type. Lovely post.
    Peace & Raw Health,

  4. Lovely photos! I can almost smell the basil 🙂 My kids planted tomato seeds in the fall, so we potted the plants and brought them in… they grew so big but never produced – still, they smell wonderful, drooping by a big sunny window. Thanks for the thoughts of Spring!

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