Basil is one of those herbs I try to keep always in my kitchen. When I was a kid, my mom didn’t use herbs at all (at least what I can remember) in her cooking. Everything was usually seasoned with salt, pepper, sugar or other ingredients like paprika, chili powder or onions and celery.
I began experimenting with herbs for seasonings when I was out on my own and it took me a few months to maybe 1 year to like them but now I can’t imagine life without my herbs. At one time, I even grew my own in my kitchen.
But, beyond that herbs make our dishes taste great, there’s also many health benefits and that’s what I’m touching on today about basil.
I scurried on the internet to research this to share some info below.
-Source: WebMD → Health Benefits of Basil
Basil contains many vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. Many of basil’s health benefits come from these antioxidants, as well as its essential oils. These compounds mostly disappear during the drying process, so opt for fresh basil whenever possible to gain the most benefits.
Health benefits of basil include:
Reduction of Oxidative Stress. Basil is full of antioxidants. Sweet basil contains a compound called eugenol, and lime and lemon basils have limonene. These antioxidants, along with others such as anthocyanins and beta-carotene, help to fight free radicals in the body that can otherwise lead to cell damage and increase your risk for a variety of health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes.
Cancer Prevention. Holy basil, also called tulsi, is a bit different from the sweet basil you use in your favorite recipes. Still, its phytochemicals can help to protect against different types of cancer, including lung cancer, liver cancer, oral cancer, and skin cancer.
Typically basil is grown outdoors but you can grow them indoors too. Here’s some tips I research from the “Gardening Know-How” website:
- Container grown basil should be planted in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Using the proper soil type is important in order to successfully grow basil inside. As basil is not tolerant of water stress, make sure pots provide adequate drainage. While the soil should be kept somewhat moist, it should never be soggy; otherwise, the roots will be prone to rotting.
- Basil growing indoors will require fertilizing. Depending on the variety grown and its overall purpose, a general houseplant fertilizer can be used. As with many houseplant fertilizers, this should be used at half the recommended strength. However, basil used solely for flavoring foods requires the use of an organic fertilizer. Organic fertilizer also helps to maintain pH levels when growing basil indoors.
- When growing basil indoors, lighting is important. Basil growing indoors requires at least six hours of sunlight. Basil plants should be placed in a sunny window, preferably facing south.
There’s a lot of ways to use basil in cooking so I’m sharing a couple of my recipes for making a sauce and pesto that you can serve over pasta or chicken.