As a medicinal herb, basil is used to treat a cough, thanks to its expectorant properties, as well as to ease anxiety, stress & insomnia: its oil has a natural calming effect.
The oils in basil are highly volatile, it is best to add it near the end of the cooking process, so it will retain its maximum flavour. Puree basil, olive oil & onions in a food processor or blender & add to tomato soups
With its pungent scent it makes the all-purpose ingredient: it goes well with tomato sauce, meat dishes, fish, eggs & seafood.
Basil leaves, pine nuts, parmesan & pecorino cheese, with a pinch of garlic & coarse salt: this is the authentic pesto recipe.
Quiche with tomato, ham & courgettes, basil also appears in various versions of the most famous savoury pie of French cuisine.
A fresh tomato soup is good served warm with ripped basil leaves & parmesan on top.
Basil pesto spread between slices of barbequed eggplant with a squeeze of lemon & a slice of mozzarella as a first course is great!
Zero fats, proteins, carbohydrates & just 15 calories every 100 grams: basil is also ideal for flavouring dishes when on a slimming diet.
Basil also provides vitamin A, which contains beta-carotenes, powerful antioxidants that protect the cells lining a number of numerous body structures, including the blood vessels, from free radical damage. This helps prevent cholesterol in blood from oxidizing, helping to prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks, & stroke.
Other vitamins & minerals in basil include Vitamin K, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C & potassium.
Basil is arguably one of the favorites among herbs because it has so many uses. Everything from soups to sandwiches can be made simply better with the addition of its fresh, pungent leaves.
Basil has been found to contain oils & flavonoids that protect the body from illness & infection.
Basil is often used in Italian & also Southeast Asian Cuisine.
Basil is usually added right at the end of cooking as cooking quickly destroys the flavour.
Fresh Basil can be kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or for a longer period in the freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water.
Basil, which is the Greek word for 'king' belongs to the Ocimum family of tropical plants
Direct from our Katikati grower.
Basil is native to Africa but was domesticated in India where it was considered sacred & was known to the Ancient Greeks and Romans.
Ancient Roman naturalist & philosopher, Pliny the Elder, thought basil to be an aphrodisiac.
In Italy it was a symbol of love. Isabella and the Pot of Basil is a story from Boccaccio's Decameron and tells of the herione Isabella who inters her murdered lover Lorenzo's severed head in a large pot of basil so she could keep him close until she eventually pined away.
How's that for love? The Greeks, however, considered it a symbol of hate.
When using, rip the leaves when eating it raw rather than cutting it with a knife, or leave them whole as the leaves will turn black & the fragrance will diminish.
A big branch of clean basil can be put into a jar sprinkled with salt & covered with extra-virgin olive oil & stored in the fridge for a few days before bringing back to room temperature & used as basil-infused oil on salads, raw tomatoes & hot steamed vegetables.
|Avg Quantity per 100g|
|Fat, total (g)||0.64|
|- saturated (g)||0.041|
|- sugars (g)||0.04|
Source: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 8th Edition, Plant & Food Research