Thursday, September 6, 2012

Monthly Ingredient Link Party: Basil

Hi there!

Glad you could join me for my first monthly ingredient link party! I'm so excited! I can't wait to see what you all have created with basil.

Basil is a wonderfully delicious herb, with notes of licorice and cloves. There are many varities of basil. The most common one is the Genovese cultivar. It's the one you most often see in Italian cooking. However, basil is not only in Italian dishes; it is also in many south Asian dishes, like Thai and Vietnamese. Originally from India, basil had made its way into our hearts and our stomachs.

Genovese Basil
 The herb has a few surprising nutritional properties. Two tablespoons of fresh basil contains 20% of your daily requirement of vitamin K. Vitamin K is essential to helping blood coagulate, or clot, properly. It also is very important for healthy bones. Basil also is a good source of beta-carotene, that famous compound in carrots, which is converted to vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A is best known for keeping your eyes healthy.

Thai Basil
Basil is a great herb to keep around for easy, flavorful additions to many recipes. The herb grows rather well in warmer climates (think Mediterranean), but can also grown as an annual in colder climates. Buy starts after the last frost has passed and when the air temperature is above 50 F. Feel free to take leaves as you need them for cooking, or cut whole stems off at the base. Be sure to keep basil well watered, or else it will bolt and go to seed rather quickly.

Some great ideas for basil include:

-A classic Caprese salad of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, drizzled with some olive oil.
-Add Thai basil to your favorite stir fry
-Use chopped lemon basil to give lemonade another layer of flavor

What are your favorite way to use basil? Share your ideas with us in the comments or by linking up your favorite recipes!


Info on Basil, Vitamin A and Vitamin K 

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