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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cooking With Herbs: Basil


Used as a main ingredient for many Mediterranean dishes, the fresh leaf has a sweet, clove like spice taste and is wonderful on fresh tomatoes with a little salad oil, and in hot tomato dishes.

Basil adds spice to rice salads and complements zucchini, beans and mushrooms. It has a big enough flavor to stand next to garlic and together they make the classic pesto sauce.

See Pesto recipe here: http://karenbcookingmadeeasy.blogspot.com/2009/03/cooking-with-herbs-basil-pesto.html

Basil's pungency increases with cooking. The fresh leaves keep their flavor if preserved in oil or vinegar

There are several varieties: " Ocimum basilicum" Basil. "Purpurascens" or Dark opal basil. "Citriodorum" Lemon basil. And "Minimum" Bush, or Greek, basil.


  • Culinary: Pound with oil or tear with fingers rather than chop. Add at the last minute to cooked dishes. Sprinkle over salads and sliced tomatoes.
  • Household: Place pots on window sills to deter flies.
  • Cosmetic: Flowering top and leaf added to bath water for an invigorating bath.
  • Medicinal: Steep a few leaves in wine for several hours as a tonic. Infuse as a tea to aid digestion. Basil is also used in aromatherapy. Put a drop of essential oil on a sleeve and inhale helps relieve fatigue.

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