You can freeze whole leaves or leafy stems, storing them in plastic bags or tubs. Chives are better when chopped before freezing, and it is convenient to keep a supply of chopped, too, as this is a herb with endless culinary uses.
The lush green leaves of sweet basil provide a strong and distinctive flavour much appreciated for a wide range of culinary uses. In its native conditions it is a perennial plant which can grow up to 3ft (90cm) high, but for container cultivation should be grown as an annual and will not achieve full height. A dwarf form (0. minimum) is available particularly suited to indoor growing; this has slightly smaller leaves and a more delicate flavour.
Sow in early spring, two or three seeds to a half-pot containing a good-based growing medium. Maintain a minimum temperature of 55°F (13°C) during germination. As the develop, pot on into larger containers; up to six plants of the smaller variety can be grown to maturity in an 8in (20cm) pot. Water freely and pinch out flower shoots as they develop. Harvest the leaves from mid to late summer onwards.
Basil is recognized as the perfect accompaniment for tomatoes, raw and cooked, and is in fact an excellent flavouring for a wide range of vegetables. It can be added to meat, fish and poultry cooked in a variety of ways, and is excellent in egg and cheese dishes. Sauces benefit from the addition of chopped basil; the flavour of this herb is enhanced rather than diminished when it is cooked. It is the main ingredient of the delicious pesto sauce for pasta.