With summer still in full force, its hard to believe that its already time to start planning for next year. Two of the plants in our garden that we use the most of are our basil and dill herbs. We use dill weed (the leafy part of the plant) in summer salads and salsa, to marinate fish and to flavor chevre. Since we go through a lot of chevre, we also use a lot of dill! Basil gets used in many of the same ways, plus in spaghetti and pizza sauces and as a garnish and flavor in cocktails and lemonade. My favorite use of basil is pesto, though, and it requires LOTS of basil leaves. And both herbs can be preserved easily as well. Fresh dill weed can be mixed with salt to make dill salt for sprinkling on cheese or dried on its own and the seeds can be dried and used in pickling spice mix. Basil can be dried as well but we preserve most of our extra basil by making and freezing pesto. We save some of the fresh basil for basil simple syrup for year round cocktails.
Since we like growing so much of these herbs it only makes sense for us to harvest our own seeds for next year’s garden. Both plants create seed heads that are visibly very different from their leafy edible parts. The basil seed heads look like stalks covered in little white flowers. The dill flower heads look like yellow fireworks! In both cases I simply snip the heads off and lay them on drying screens or paper to dry. Once they are fully dry, the seeds will shake loose and I’ll just have to remove the chaff (i.e. everything that isn’t seed) and then store the seeds somewhere dark and dry until next spring!