Over a three week period, we will be looking at different spices and how they can benefit your health. Last week we covered how and when to use oregano. This week we will be looking at basil.
What is Basil?Basil is a herb in the mint family that has a mild peppery flavor with hints of mint and clove.
What Basil Can Do for You
- Provides small doses of iron, Vitamin C and Vitamin K
- Provides nutrient lutein, which keeps eyes and skin healthy and combats free radicals
How to Buy BasilWhen buying fresh basil, make sure the leaves are a vibrant green and do not have any dark spots or signs of decay. Fresh basil can be found in the produce section of grocery stores, or you can buy dried basil from the spice section. You can also grow your own basil.
Basil leaves should be layered with damp paper towels and stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. It should be used within 4 days. It can also be frozen or dried. You can dry basil by layering it with salt in an airtight container. Dried basil should be used within 6 months.
Cooking with BasilThe stems of basil tend to be bitter, so when cooking with fresh basil only use the leaves. For the most flavor, use fresh basil and wait to add it to your food until you are almost done cooking.
Basil goes well with oregano, rosemary, sage, onion and garlic. Many other herbs and spices overpower the flavor of basil.
Sprinkle Basil On:
- Tomato dishes (pasta, ravioli, tortellini, tomato soup)
- Olive dishes
- Vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, squash and spinach
- Poultry stuffing
Recipes that Incorporate Basil
|Basil Tuna Steaks
||Green Bean Salad
|Fettuccine with Mushrooms