see you september

September. The cooler air moves in and the leaves begin their show-stopping parade of color. The first race of the cross-country season was held this weekend.

The runners followed the course and the sunshine highlighted the slightly orange canopy of leaves in the park. Little guy is racing this year and found out the course is not as easy as it may look to a confident second grader.

The growing season for most of the herbs and perennials is slowly starting to come to an end. There are some perennial flowers lingering longer this fall since they escaped a scorching August heat.

Right now there is the last lemon on the Meyer lemon bush. The bush didn’t do so well in the house last year. Then, all of a sudden it came to life in March. That’s the beauty and the mystery of growing anything.

The hydrangea bushes had one last new bloom that appeared. The hydrangea flowers, that spill through the picket fence, dry their own buds on the bush. These will get cut and placed in a vase for the next few months.

The rosemary, in our growing zone of the country, will have about another few weeks before it goes inside to continue to provide some woodsy flavor in the kitchen. Many herbs can be used in dishes to reflect the changing seasons. The rosemary sprigs, placed on the pork chop on the grill this summer, waiting to be paired with a fruit salsa, will now add some rosemary perfume to richer sauces and stews.

The basil leaves are coming to the end of their growing season. Use up every last bit of the basil plants and freeze. Wash and dry the basil leaves. Spin in a spinner or let them be patted dry for an extra bit of time. Slice the leaves into ribbons. Place them in ice cube trays with a good quality chicken or vegetable broth and freeze. When you’re making a sauce, stew, or soup this winter, pop out one or two of the basil and broth cubes to melt into your cooking pot.

Taking care of a garden makes you always think forward to the next growing season. There’s nothing more rewarding, after watching the flowers and herbs yield to fall, and then winter, return the following spring. That’s what we love about sedum. It’s the last to say good-bye in the fall and the first to say hello in the spring.

For more ideas about using your freezer for preserving fresh flavors, check out this recent post of mine over at Parade Food. Be sure to look for next week’s topic.

See you soon.

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