Anyone who loves to cook knows that the magic of Basil's strong, sweet aroma and flavour, instantaneously transforms pastas, pizza, soups, salads, sauces & so much more.
Also known as Great Basil, this fabulous herb is indigenous to tropical regions that run between Southeast Asia & Central Africa. We are indebted to the huge role it plays in global cuisine...
Different Ways to Use Basil
- Revolutionize your pasta or pizza by topping it off with a few fresh leaves of Basil. (These can be thinly sliced or served whole). If you are out of fresh Basil, then just add the dried variety
- Puree some fresh Basil and add it to your soup or tomato sauce. If that's not possible, then just add some dried Basil to your offering
- Liven up your sauces with some fresh or dried Basil
- Make some delicious pesto by pounding the Basil in a food processor, or pestle and mortar. Add some pine nuts, olive oil, vegan parmesan (which you can make yourself), and garlic
- Give your salad a distinct taste by chopping up some fresh basil leaves. Again, if you don't have any, then just add the dried herb
- Place a few fresh Basil leaves on top of slices of mozzarella and tomato, and then drizzle your offering with some extra virgin olive oil
- Crush in boiled new potatoes
- Create a wonderful marinade by mixing some fresh Basil with a measure of virgin olive oil, and some chopped garlic
- Zest up eggplant and zucchini with a fabulous touch of Basil
- Make a super healthy snack by garnishing a sliced avocado with some fresh or dried Basil. Place the fresh herb around the rim of the bowl or plate. - Work on your artistic side - think of the Master Chefs you have seen on TV!
- Add some fresh Basil to a fresh fruit salad, and even ice cream!
Did You Know?
Basil is a member of the mint family.
Although Basil is primarily linked to Mediterranean cooking, it is also regularly used in Asian dishes.
The top three types of Mediterranean Basil (all of which generate different flavors), comprise: large green leaf, "Sweet Basil;" smaller leaf, "Greek Basil," (which provides a peppery undertone); and dark , "Purple Basil," (which offers a milder flavour).
And just like Sweet Basil, "Thai Basil" is stronger; and "Holy Basil," which is best cooked, is intense and spicy.
The Asian varieties of Basil include the popular, smaller leaf, "Lemon Basil," which generates a fantastic citrusy note.
Sweet Basil is the most popular form of the herb used for cooking in the US. Other than this, Clove Basil, Lemon Basil, and even Cinnamon Basil, are regularly used.
Fresh Vs Dried Basil
When you use the fresh variety, due to its more mellow flavor, you can add more. If you particularly like to use dried basil, then just reserve the fresh variety for any dish which you serve with fresh ingredients - for example, raw salads and desserts.
When you're cooking, dried Basil will suffice very well. This is because it will allow the herb's rich flavor to interact with the other ingredients.
How Can I Store Fresh Basil?
After you have cut a quantity of fresh Basil, and find that you have some left over, you can make it last for one or two more days, by storing it in the fridge. Prior to doing this, wrap it up in damp kitchen paper, and then put it in a perforated bag.
If you Basil is in a pot, then be sure to place it in a sheltered place where it will be in the sun - remember the climate that it originated from! - A window ledge is ideal.
Water the herb regularly, although don't overdo it, as you will reduce its unique flavor!
If you follow these simple tips, then your plant should be good for several months. - This is because every time you remove some leaves, more will sprout!
Tantalize Your Tastebuds as You Rev Up Your Health
"Basil supplies beneficial plant compounds that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and other health properties." It is also a good source of Vitamin K., "2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil provide 27% of the RDA; s well as vitamin A, manganese and magnesium."
There are different types of Basil, and both sweet & holy basil have a long history of medicinal use. A few studies in people suggest it is good for balancing blood sugar " [1,2,3]