Basil

 

Storage


Keep fresh herbs in the refrigerator. If they are dirty or sandy, rinse them gently just before using them. Wrapped in a paper towel and placed in a plastic bag, herbs stay fresh for several days. Those herbs that still have their roots can be kept longer, place them in fresh water at room temperature,like cut flowers. You can also wrap the roots in a damp cloth and store the herbs in a plastic bag in the warmest part of your refrigerator.You can freeze the herbs whole or chopped, without blanching; if you wash them, be sure to dry them thoroughly.

Keep fresh basil in the refrigerator. Wrap it in a slightly damp paper towel to help it stay fresh longer. Wash it just before using it. Fresh basil leaves can also be preserved in olive oil, or you can make them into a smooth paste by blending them with oil in a food processor. Store dried basil in a sealed container kept in a cool, dry, dark place.  Freezing is particularly suitable for basil, which loses much of its taste when dried. Freeze it whole or chopped;blanching is unnecessary. You can also cover it with stock or water and freeze it into cubes, which can be used in soups, sauces and stews. Use it unthawed to maximize its flavour.

Nutrition

Basil contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin A, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zea-xanthin. These compounds help protect against aging and various disease processes. 


Varieties we grow:

Nufar (Green)

Tulsi (Indian Holy Basil)

Dark Opal (purple)

Quenette (Thai Basil)


History

The first written history of basil appears to date back 4,000 years to when it was grown in Egypt. The name basil, is derived from the medieval Latin form of the Greek word for "King" or "Kingly".  Basil is native to Iran and India and rarely found in the wild.

Basil is associated with the wife of the Hindu god, Vishnu. As such, Hindus hold the herb sacred and ask forgiveness when they touch it.  In Romania there is an old custom that if a boy accepts a sprig of basil from a girl, he is engaged to marry her. It is also tradition that basil was found growing around the tomb of Jesus. In medieval times it was thought that scorpions grew up under pots of basil.  Basil came to America via the Massachusetts Bay Colony where it was introduced in 1621. From there its cultivation spread among the colonies. It has long been used to flavour food in the western world, but was used primarily for its aroma in India. Today it is most recognized for its influence in Italian and Thai cooking.

Recipes

Basil is always good to use in tomato sauces, pestos, pizzas, and with cheeses. It is used in green Thai curry blend, bouquet garni, and Italian seasonings.  The Tomato/Basil combination is VERY complimentary - so if you have a recipe that calls for tomatoes - throw in some basil, too!

Spinach Basil Pesto

Prep Time:  20 Min  Ready In:  20 Min

24 Servings   

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves

3/4 cup fresh basil leaves (use purple basil for purple pesto!---->)

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


Directions

  1. 1.Blend the spinach, basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a food processor until nearly smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Drizzle the remaining olive oil into the mixture while processing until smooth.


Basil Dill Coleslaw

Prep Time: 10 Min  Ready In:  10 Min

6 Servings   

Ingredients

6 cups shredded cabbage

1 bunch chopped fresh basil

3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

DRESSING:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons half-and-half cream

1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper


Directions

  1. 1.In a serving bowl, combine the cabbage, basil and dill. In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients until blended. Pour over cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving.