Basil – Ocimum basilicum

Draft 1.0 9/25/2020

Intro

Basil is a culinary herb from the mint (Lamiaceae) family. Be aware basil definitely doesn’t smell like mint. Out of all of the herbs I have found in the produce section of the grocery store, I’ve only noticed basil being sold in little pots…as a plant. By purchasing this lovely fragrant plant one you can have a living pot of basil in or near your kitchen window. Yes, you can also find a sprig of basil in the herb section in their little plastic pods year round. From experience basil is a wonderful herb to grow in a pot in or near your kitchen window and even outdoors. When you clip it to use on a margarita pizza it will keep producing more leaves. I planted basil one year in my front yard as a boarder and by summer the sweet scent of basil was a wonderful treat when walking in front of my flower garden bed. Come to find out basil can also be called great basil or Saint Joseph Wort.

Presto Pesto

Tip – Basil flowers are perfectly edible. They can be  sprinkled over a salad or any dish desired. Basil flowers have a mild basil flavor and can add a creative decorative touch. They also make a great garnish for anything that pairs well with basil especially Italian dishes. Basil goes great with pasta, cheese, fresh fruit, plates of meat or vegetables. I’ve heard some Italian cooks say basil is only for tearing when serving but a good pesto is delicious on a plate of pasta.

Incredible  Health Benefits

Basil known also as  the “King of Herbs” no wonder it has so many nicknames because basil is used extensively in Italian, Thai, Vietnamese, Mediterranean, and Indonesian cuisine. Basil is one of the healthiest herbs. When I cook for my family I like to know what I’m cooking is healthy. Basil leaves act as a kidney tonic by cleansing the kidneys and lowering uric acid levels, which is the root cause of kidney stones. Also among  other benefits basil can facilitate optimal digestion. Basil fortifies the digestive and nervous system and can be a good remedy for headaches and insomnia. Basil helps wonders by balancing acid within the body and restores the body’s proper pH level. When our bodies are at the correct pH level we allow our body to lose unwanted fat cells. Basil also keeps our heart healthy and prevents cardiovascular disease.

Growing Basil

Soil

Basil thrives in moist well drained soil whether it’s outside or in a pot. I’ve started all of my basil plants from seeds. Basil is very sensitive to cooler temps so when I’ve started the seeds inside at the beginning of the year I’ll place the basil starts in the garage for a day or so to harden before planting outside. It is important to plant outside  after the last frost in the spring and transplant or cultivate your basil before the first frost of the fall. Basil will wilt and die if left outside with freezing temperatures. Tip it’s great to plant your basil near or next to your tomatoes in your outside garden. This can be a quick pick for a caprese salad or margarita pizza.

Sun

Basil is a tropical herb and Basil loves the sun. six to eight hours a day in the sun is ideal for vibrant leaves that will continue to produce after clipping.

Water

Water your basil often. When it does become super hot in the summer, if your basil is planted outside make sure it is watered daily. Basil thrives when the soil is moist.

Easy Pesto in the Kitchen

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh basil leaves.

3 cloves garlic, peeled.

3 tablespoons pine nuts.

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan.

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

1/3 cup olive oil.

Blend all together in a food processor until smooth

Enjoy!

Resource Links

https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/9-incredible-benefits-of-basil-leaves-you-may-not-have-known-1834742

https://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/top-7-health-benefits-of-basil.htm

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