The big heat of Summer is here, the time that Basil begins growing with beautiful bounty! We’ve just started delivering bunches to the co-op and I’m happily munching as much as I can.
I’m a pretty serious Basil hound, using fresh leaves like lettuce and smearing pesto on anything I can. Good old sweet ‘Genovese’ Basil is my standard, but it’s fun having the different flavors of different varieties so we also grow ‘Lemon’ (makes an incredible sun tea), ‘Dark Opal’ (a purple-colored variety of Italian Sweet Basil), ‘Thai’ (a spicier Asian cousin that holds its flavor better when cooked with heat) and ‘Sacred’ (native to India, also called ‘Holy’ Basil or ‘Tulsi’).
Basil has been traditionally used as herbal medicine, and is good food being rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium.
So delicious! And it’s good for you! Enjoy some new recipes this Summer- you might get addicted like me but it’s kindof hard to see a downside to that ;)
Frosty Basil Lemonade: https://www.vitamix.com/recipes/frosty-basil-lemonade
Purple Pesto: http://www.gardeners.com/Make-Your-Own-Pesto/7686,default,pg.html
Thai Basil Sangria: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/thai-basil-sangria
Somebody has been chewing the Genovese basil, but not the Dark Opal. That somebody is missing out!
Dark Opal basil is totally delicious. It’s said to have a stronger anisey taste, but I don’t notice a difference. Of course, I pile basil leaves on sandwiches like other people do lettuce so maybe an overwhelmingly-strong basil flavor is my kind of thing.
You can substitute Dark Opal basil in any recipe that calls for green sweet basil. Try pesto for fun– it turns your mouth purple.
When I say “basil”, do you think “pesto”? Pesto made with sweet basil just happens to be one of my most long-standing addictions, but with over 50 different varieties (possibly as many as 150!) distributed around the world, basil is about much, much more….
Since ancient times, basil has found its way into our food, medicine and cosmetics. It’s antibacterial and antiviral, and a good source of vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, and calcium.
Basil has been used medicinally to ease headaches, sore throats, coughs, nausea, and to ease nervous tension. It’s also reputed to strengthen dry or brittle hair, restoring hair’s natural luster and shine.
One of my favorite hair rinses is a strong tea made of Basil leaves and Lavender flowers. You can pour it over your head and catch the runoff in a bowl to keep repeating, or do it lazy-style like me and just dunk your head in a bowl.
A twist on my recipe: substitute Holy Basil (Tulsi) for the Sweet Basil. For Brunettes: try a Basil and Rosemary blend. For Blondes & Redheads: try a Basil and Chamomile blend.
To make this aromatic, strengthening hair rinse, use 2 Tbsp of herb per cup of water and steep for at least 15 minutes.
Here’s today’s garden harvest: Basil, Wormwood and Mugwort.
Basil’s for pesto, Wormwood’s for absinthe, and the Mugwort I’m infusing into oil while still fresh for a massage oil that helps with lower back pain, menstrual cramps and neck stiffness.