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Beautiful, Bountiful Basil

basil lemonade

 

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 Lemonadehttps://www.vitamix.com/recipes/frosty-basil-lemonade

Purple Pestohttp://www.gardeners.com/Make-Your-Own-Pesto/7686,default,pg.html

Thai Basil Sangriahttp://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/thai-basil-sangria

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Herbs for You, Me, and the Bees

mid-july herb harvest
July 15th’s harvest basket

Want to know the downside of this beautiful basketful of herbs? It was stolen!

Yes, stolen from the bees. They were already busy at work in the garden when I went out in the morning to pick.

Being all too painfully aware of the horrors threatening the bees’ survival (Colony Collapse Disorder, poisoning, industrial farming, loss of habitat), I grow medicinal herbs as much for them as for myself.

Our animal and plant friends need the nutrition and medicine that herbs offer the same as we do. So make sure you plant lots of extras 😉

(herbs in the photo, clockwise from top left: Holy Basil, Bee Balm, Echinacea, St. Johnswort, Calendula)

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Coconut Oil for Hair Repair

herb-infused coconut oil

Virgin coconut oil is one of my favorite oils. Besides the beautiful natural aroma, it’s an easy and effective hair conditioner adding shine as well as repairing dry and damaged hair.

This is coconut oil infused with lavender flower, holy basil leaf, and rosemary leaf; herbs that condition, reduce tangles, strengthen hair, and stimulate growth.

Don’t you just love that green?

With jojoba oil, hemp seed oil, and lavender, holy basil and rosemary essential oils added, this is what I’ve been using to deep condition the “supercrunch” I’ve got goin’ on (my hair is so dry right now it actually sounds crunchy!).

Split ends be gone!

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Herbal Lore: Basil

 

basil

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.

 

D.I.Y.

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.