BASIL

By: Maura Anderson

Origin, Botanical Info, And Health Benefits

Origin: All of its common names refer to the herb's botanical name, Ocimum basilicum. Its a member of the large mint family.

Botanical Info: The entire plant above the ground is edible. When cooking it is good to use the leaves and the soft stem. But if you were to use fresh basil only use the leaves.

Health Benefits: Has lots of vitamin K, it is considered one of the healthiest herbs, essential to reduce blood clotting, lower blood sugar, lowers cholesterol levels.

Common Culinary Uses

The most common use of basil is for cooking, such as in tomato sauce, or vinegars. But it can be sprinkled over salads and sliced tomatoes, either whole or chopped. You should tear the leaves to save more of the flavor.

Interesting Facts, and Recipes

Interesting Facts: Depending on the variety basil can grow 12 to 51 inches, fresh leaves can be used in chocolate and ice-cream in some parts of the world, basil contains chemicals that repel some insects.

Recipes:

Fried Mozzarella, Basil and Nectarine Stacks with Balsamic Glaze

Pesto

Basil Vinaigrette

Thai Basil Chicken