All About Herbs: BASIL
Basil is one of the most versatile herbs that grow free on our planet. Native to the tropical zones, it is also not a stranger to the European region as many of us know. Italians use this herb for many of their most famous dishes including Caprese salad, minestrone soups and lasagna meals.
Basil Herb: The History
Not only as a cooking ingredient but also as a natural remedy – the basil has been used for many needs since millennia. Although this, the first documents of its existence and utilization in the human everyday life date back to the XVII century in England. Apart of this instance, the herb is famous and highly regarded in the Hindu territories where it’s considered a favourite of many gods. Some older cultures believe that these green leaves are the symbol of love and everlasting affection.
Basil as a Plant
If you’re going to grow basil plants in a pot or around the garden, you need to know some basics. Here are the most important facts that might influence and help your time caring for it:
The basil is an annual plant that can grow to almost 60cm in height. Its leaves are rounded and very gentle with a surface that appears creased. They are also very tender and have the strongest flavour when young. With age, the taste becomes bitterer. The best way to have peak flavour throughout the lifespan of the plant is to sow the leaves every second week. Another trick is to pick out the flower spikes before they grow.
Planting basil in an outside zone can be a tricky job as it does not dwell well in the frosted soil. Having to wait until all sings of the winter have disappeared from the ground will limit the time when the herb can develop and grow itself. This is why it’s best to keep it in a pot and let it stay indoors in the cold season.
Basil as a Spice
As previously mentioned, the Italian cucina is the best example of how many uses the basil has within the kitchen.
One of the major Italian sauces, the pesto, is made always and almost entirely with mashed basil. It’s always better to use home-grown and freshly picked basil for the pesto so that your pasta or the pizza will taste the best. Naturally, many stores offer ready-made paste with either tomatoes or olives, but they are not preferred by the true chefs.
Another Central European country that loves to use it as an ingredient is France. The French adore the taste of basil in various soups.
As a whole, basil can be put into virtually anything including, but not limited to: soups, salads, stuffing, beans, sprouts, tofu, cheese and various meats.
A little known fact is that many Eastern European countries love to use basil as a key tea ingredient and it is a cherish everyday drink.
This plant can also be a great help against stomach cramps, infection, insomnia as it has antiseptic and sedative properties.