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From Barbara's Kitchen Freeze your surplus of summery herbs like rosemary and basil for late use

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Posted: Friday, September 7, 2012 7:28 am

Dear Barbara: We have four very large rosemary bushes lining our walk. There are just so many dishes that call for rosemary. Can I freeze some for winter or will it turn black? — Gilbert from Lodi

Dear Gilbert: Actually, rosemary freezes quite well, as does basil. If you have a salad spinner, it is perfect to take the water out after the herbs are washed. Pat the remaining water off and put the sprigs of rosemary in a Zip-Loc freezer bag.

This will keep you supplied with rosemary for almost a year.

For that wonderful pesto for the winter months, you can do the same, but you need to rub the basil with a little olive oil to keep its color.

Dear Barbara: I love the heirloom tomatoes. Every one has a different flavor. Why are they so expensive? — Charlotte from Ripon

Dear Charlotte: Heirlooms not only have their own flavor, but their own look. I love that they look so misshapen. They look so unusual with the different shapes and colors.

Heirloom tomatoes are hard to grow because they are so delicate. They are so different and each has its own set of rules.

Also, they don’t travel well because they are fragile; therefore the growers have to cover their cost and up goes the price.

I feel very appreciative that there are still people out there who will settle for nothing but the best!

Heirlooms like a nice warm climate of 85-90 degrees during the day and around 60 at night.

Don’t refrigerate them or they will lose their wonderful flavor.

In order to be called an “heirloom” tomato, the seeds must be no more than 50 years old. I haven’t seen them around here much, but I believe I have seen them at the Farmers Market. If you can’t find the seeds there, I’m sure you can get them online.

Dear Barbara: What is the difference between a white peach and a yellow peach? — Joey from Lodi

Dear Joey: Some people say (and I agree) that white peaches are bland and all you taste is the sweetness, not that lovely peach flavor. They break down too easily while you are cooking them. White peaches are harder to peel, even with the boiling method. They also lack color. The white peaches are bland in color, not the sunshine color of cutting into a perfect yellow peach.

I think people are more apt to go with the peaches that they grew up with. I’m from the Midwest and they were yellow peaches. Go yellow!

Barbara Spitzer is a Lodi home cook who also develops recipes for specific consumer products. Do you have a cooking question? Send it to Barbara Spitzer at bdspitzer@comcast.net. Please include your first name and city.

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