Fragrant Basil

The last couple of weeks we are happy to give you some beautiful basil inside your CSA box. The basil is growing very good in our garden so I want to give you some ideas on how to use basil other then in your pasta dishes or pesto.

tulsiBasil is a versatile and widely used aromatic herb. Basil is an annual plant that is easy to grow from seed but is very sensitive to cold. The plant grows well in warm climates and is widely used throughout southern Europe, particularly the Mediterranean, and in many parts of Asia.

There are numerous species of basil; some have scents reminiscent of pineapple, lemon, cinnamon or cloves; others have beautiful purple leaves. The variety called holy basil “Tulsi” (see photo) is an essential part of an authentic Thai curry. In Mediterranean regions, basil and tomato is a classic combination. Pesto, made from basil leaves and pine nuts, with parmesan or pecorino cheese and olive oil (traditionally pounded together in a mortar and pestle – the latter lends pesto its name) is another classic dish.

 

basil_16x9Health benefits of basil.
Basil is an herbal antibiotic, antiseptic and appetizer that has an special affinity for the stomach. Basil significantly benefits the stomach during digestion and can provide immediate relief from gas, stomach cramps and nausea. It also contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can provide relief for inflamed bowel conditions such as colitis, IBS, crohn’s and celiac disease.
It is also highly antibacterial and antiviral making it effective against bacterial infections, intestinal parasites, colds, flu and herpes.

Basil is a rich source of magnesium which relaxes muscles and blood vessels and supports cardiovascular health by lowering the risk of irregular heart rhythms and spasms.

The essential oil of basil contains eugenol which works similarly to aspirin and ibuprofen in decreasing the swelling in joints and tissues to provide relief from arthritis and fibromyalgia. Basil’s fungicidal properties also aid in healing wounds, skin rashes, warts, and insect bites. You can purchase creams and salves or crush fresh leaves in a small amount of coconut oil, apply to the skin, and wrap with a fresh bandage daily. (Source: medicalmedium.com)

Recipes
In this blog I will share four recipes with basil: a salad, a smoothie, a dessert and a cocktail.
Enjoy!!!

roasted_red_pepper_and_53318_16x9Roasted pepper salad
Ingredients:
– 300g/10½oz roasted red peppers in oil, drained and sliced
– 175g/6oz chargrilled artichoke hearts in oil, drained and chopped
– 2 tsp shredded fresh basil leaves
– 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
– salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Instructions:
Mix the peppers and artichokes together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Add a little oil from the jar, if needed, along with the basil leaves and balsamic vinegar.
Serve with fresh bread.

smoothieBasil smoothie
Ingredients:
– 1/2 medium lemon, peeled and deseeded
– 4 to 5 large fresh basil leaves
– 1/4 medium cucumber, with peel
– 2 frozen bananas, thawed slightly and sliced
– 2 inches fresh aloe gel (scraped from the leaf)
– 8 ounces of filtered water

 

Instructions:
Start by adding the liquid to your blender followed by the soft fruit.
Add the greens to your blender last.
Blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy.

Gluten-Free-Almond-Berry-Dessert4Berry and basil crumble
Ingredients:
– ½ cup almond flour
– 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
– 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
– 2 tablespoons coconutsugar
– ½ teaspoon allspice
– 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 2 teaspoons fresh orange zest, divided
– Pinch of sea salt
– ⅓ cup coconut oil
– 1 teaspoon almond extract
– 1 pound fresh strawberries, sliced
– 1 pound fresh raspberries
– 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
– 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint

Instructions:
– Preheat oven to 375˚ F. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
– In a large bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flakes, slivered almonds, coconutsugar, allspice, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of the orange zest and sea salt. Add coconut oil and mix well to combine. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
– In a large mixing bowl, combine almond extract with strawberries and raspberries; gently toss to combine. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
– Remove almond mixture from the refrigerator. Using your fingers, crumble the mixture and place it on top of the strawberries and raspberries, covering the surface.
– Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with fresh basil, mint and the remaining teaspoon of orange zest. Serve warm.

sw19_lemonade_26874_16x9Basil cocktail
Ingredients:
– 1 large sprig fresh basil
– 4 fresh strawberries, halved
– 75ml/3fl oz brandy
– 1 tbsp strawberry liqueur
– 50ml/2fl oz fresh lemon juice
– 25ml/1fl oz sugar syrup
– sparkling water, to top up

Instructions:
Place the basil between two sheets of kitchen paper and roll hard with a rolling pin.
Add a handful of ice, the strawberries, cognac, strawberry liqueur, lemon juice and sugar syrup and top up with sparkling water.
Stir the cocktail together and pour into highball glasses filled with ice

 

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