Basil is a key ingredient in Mediterranean cooking. It is a leafy herb from the mint family with a licorice-clove flavor. It is commonly green in color however there are purple varieties like Opal Basil. It’s available all year round but the true harvest in during summer.
Basil is an excellent source of Vitamin K and manganese. It is also a very good source of copper, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Moreover, it has moderate amounts of calcium, iron, folate, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids.
Health Benefits and Medical Use
Basil has been shown to provide protection against unwanted bacterial growth. These anti-bacterial properties of basil are associated with its volatile oils, which contain estragole, linalool, cineole, eugenol, sabinene, myrcene, and limonene. It has also flavonoids which gives protection at the cellular level. It has also anti-inflammatory effects and contains nutrients needed for cardiovascular health.
Basil matches well with cheese, chicken, duck, eggplant, eggs, fish, lamb, liver, olive oil, onions, pasta, pesto, pizza, pork, potatoes, rabbit, salads, shellfish, soups, sweet peppers, tomatoes, veal, vegetables, vinegars, zucchini, and tomato sauce. Famous recipes are Basil Pesto, Basil Cream Chicken, Tomato and Basil Bruschetta, Tomato Basil Soup, Basil Lemonade, Basil Shrimp, Orzo with Basil and Parmesan, Zucchini Ribbons with Basil Butter, Honey Mustard Basil Salmon, Thai Basil Chicken, etc.