This versatile Herb is one of my personal favourites. It is very easy to grow
and provides you with a constant supply of leaves all season long. Just remember
to keep picking to encourage more growth. One of my favourite recipes is Basil
Pesto with Pine Nuts, Parmesan and Olive Oil. Once I realised how easy this was to make I stripped 6 full grown Basil plants just so I could make large batches! I will be adding a recipes section soon. Basil leaves can be used in Pizza, Pasta, Sauces, Dips & Garnishes. Basil looks a little like peppermint, which is not surprising since they belong to the same plant family. There are more than 60 varieties of basil, all of which differ somewhat in appearance and taste. While the taste of sweet basil is bright and pungent, other varieties also offer unique tastes: lemon basil, anise basil and cinnamon basil all have flavors that subtly reflect their name.

Whenever possible, choose fresh basil over the dried form of the herb since it is superior in flavor. The leaves of fresh basil should look vibrant and be deep green in color. They should be free from darks spots or yellowing. Fresh basil should be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel. It may also be frozen, either whole or chopped, in airtight containers. Alternatively, you can freeze the basil in ice cube trays covered with either water or stock that can be added when preparing soups or stews. Dried basil should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place where it will keep fresh for about six months. Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K and a very good source of iron, calcium and vitamin A. In addition, basil is a good source of dietary fiber, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium.
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    April 2013