Interesting Facts about Basil (OCIMUM BASILICUM) will give you some insight on how amazing this herb is to use in cooking, make beauty products, and grow in your garden.
“Going to Europe as a budding cook opened my eyes to food in a different way. When I got to Italy, the first thing I did was put my little basil plants in the ground and watch them turn into big, healthy bushes.Frances Mayes
“Basil” is derived from the old Greek word basilikohn, which means “royal.” Basil was considered sacred and noble. I think we can all see why!
There are over 60 varieties of basil, all different in flavor and appearance. Sweet basil (the most common variety) has a sweet, robust flavor.
Basil is a member of the mint family. Its leaves go from pale to dark green leaves and then from dark red to purple leaves. Depending on the variety, the leaves are approximately 1 1/2″ long and can be rounded or pointed.
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Here are the Interesting Facts About Basil
History of Basil
Where is Basil Native to?
Basil is a native of India but is often associated with Italy because of their food. For thousands of years, it’s been cultivated all over the world. It came to the United States with the colonists.
In India, Basil is a sacred plant. It is a symbol of eternal life, faithfulness, and love.
Historically, basil was a plant that was associated with courting in Italy. Girls wore basil on their waist to signal their availability.
Basil is said to have grown around Christ’s tomb after the Resurrection. It is sometimes found in the Holy Water and in pots at altar in the Greek Orthodox Church.
Nutritional Facts about Basil
Basil is rich in nutrients and antioxidants. It has potent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Although basil is usually eaten in small amounts, it contains a range of healthy nutrients. It has vitamins A, C, and K, manganese, iron, calcium, manganese, folate, and potassium.
If you’re watching your salt intake, basil can make giving it up more enjoyable. It adds a tremendous amount of flavor without adding any calories.
Fun Facts about Basil
Lemon basil is a hybrid between basil and spice basil. It has a pleasing citrus scent.
According to UCDavis.com, the primary states basil is grown are Arizona, California, Florida, North Carolina, and New Mexico.
Making basil tea will help aid in digestion.
Basil essential oil will help with mental fatigue.
Buying Fresh Basil
Fresh basil should look vibrant. The leaves should be deep green in color and free from dark spots or yellowing.
How to Store Basil
There are two ways to store basil. My favorite way is to place them in a glass of water like flowers and keep them on the kitchen counter. Make sure the leaves are above water.
You can also store fresh basil leaves by washing and drying the leaves. Wrap the basil in paper towels and place it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Basil will last one to two weeks.
If you cover the basil leaves with olive oil – they could last up to two months. You can also store it frozen as blanched leaves or purees. Preserving basil in salt or vinegar are also options.
Basil is a fragrant plant that can grow up to 36 inches in height. It’s a bushy herb with green, red, or purple leaves with sprigs of tiny white flowers.
This wonderful herb makes an excellent container plant. Purple basil makes an attractive addition to a herb container garden and is strongly scented. Pinch the leaves back regularly to encourage bushy growth.
Basil loves it when the weather stays above 60 degrees. It prefers full sun with rich, moist, and well-draining soil. Protect basil from wind, scorching midday sun, and frost. Avoid overwatering.
The growth of a basil plant explodes during the summer months.
It is grown as an annual because it has an intolerance of cold.
Starting basil from seed can be challenging. If you decide to go that route, start your seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before your first frost.
Culinary Uses for Basil
Basil is one of the most popular herbs to be used in cooking and beverages. Basil leaves are used in both savory and sweet recipes. Most home chefs like to keep a pot of basil growing in their kitchen window to add flavor to their favorite dishes.
Pesto is the most famous use of fresh basil. Basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil are the traditional ingredients in making pesto.
Tomatoes and basil are an explosion of flavor when combined. Pasta sauces are one of the favorite ways to add basil in recipes. Tomato salads and soups are also great dishes to add basil to flavor.
Basil flavors Thailand and Vietnam cuisines in stir-fries. The leaves are added at the end of the cooking, so the fragrance and flavor is retained.
We’ve reached the end of Interesting Facts About Basil. I hope you enjoyed it.
Let me know in the comments below how you like to use basil in your recipes or beauty products.
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