Basil – Origin & Flavour
It is a herb in the mint family. There are 60 varieties of basil which include red and purple versions. All having their own unique taste. Basil is traditionally cooked in Italian, Mediterranean, Vietnamese. Thai, and Indonesian dishes. It’s also one of the main ingredients for pesto.
Sweet basil is the most common. It has a fresh aroma with a subtle peppery flavour and a hint of mint. Others will have some citrus and spice while thai basil will have a spicy licorice flavour. Source: The Spruce Eats
Traditional uses for using basil include: treatment of snakebites, colds, inflammations within nasal passages (common colds). There is also calcium and vitamin K and some antioxidants also – sweet basil has a high concentration of eugenol and lime/lemon basils have limonene. Source: Medical News Today
Other notable benefits
- Reducing oxidative stress
- Supporting liver health
- Fighting cancer
- Protecting against skin aging
- Reducing high blood sugar
- Supporting cardiovascular health
- Boosting mental health
- Reducing inflammation and swelling
- Combating infection
Cooking & Storing: The Do’s & The Don’ts
Always determine if you are cooking with dry or fresh basil. To bring out the food flavour; fresh basil is used at the end of the cooking process. Contrary to that, dried basil is best used at the beginning to soften/infuse with other ingredients. As it said, when working with fresh basil, be sure to remove the leaves from the stem and work with it finely chopped. Remove the stems and stalks.
Fresh basil leaves best stored in the fridge; stored in water or damp paper towers. Best to store it for only a week, & daily watered; or up to four days when storing with a damp paper towel. Also can be stored in the freezer. Dried basil should be kept in cool/dry places but be used within six months period.
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