Basil – 16 Reasons You Need this in Your Life
Basil is a word that I first associated with spaghetti sauce. Other than that, I never cared about what it was, how you grew it or anything else for that matter! Times have definitely changed!
What I’m learning about herbs is that even the most simple ones you’ve heard of for cooking can be incredibly powerful healers and just because it may not sound unusual or exotic to you, don’t count it out as being beneficial.
With that said, allow me to present the first herb in our series: BASIL (Ocimum Basilicum). This beautiful and very easy to grow herb packs a lot of culinary punch, but even more than that, I think you’ll be amazed at the healing properties this amazing plant holds.
HOW TO PLANT
Planting this herb is really quite easy, especially if you have been fortunate enough to have the plant started for you. When I first started my herb garden this year (my first ever), I was able to use starter plants that I’d purchased from a spring home and garden show in my area. If this is you too, then simply dig a hole deep enough to accept your root structure and cover over – making the soil tight enough around the plant to hold it upright, but not so tight, it doesn’t have room to grow. Basil is a hardy plant. Make sure you water it well to start out. Water once a week afterwards unless you have some brutally hot weather in your neck of the woods. On the whole, this peppery and lemony plant likes full sun exposure!
Need some visual reference?
You can see a nice video about how to grow basil here.
HOW TO HARVEST
The trick to having a healthy harvest and still leaving the plant in tact to yield more and more spicy, pungent leaves is all in the trimming. Because of its very nature, basil grows very easily on its own with little upkeep and will grow to be quite bushy. When your plant gets nice and full, bring your scissors out and start clipping. Trimming from the top is perfectly fine. In fact, you can trim from the top and go down as far as the second set of leaves that appear at the bottom of any stalk.
HOW TO DRY
If you are planning to store your harvest a while before using it, you actually have three options for drying:
- Use a food dehydrator (like this one) – Make sure to evenly place your leaves on individual trays and dry until they appear crispy in appearance.
- Use an oven – Place leaves on parchment paper and then chop or cut your basil into approximate 1/4″ pieces and place on to a baking sheet. Place baking sheet on top rack of your oven for 2 to 4 hours or until basil crumbles easily. Keep in mind that time to dry will vary depending on climate conditions and relative humidity.
- Use a microwave – This is the fastest way to dry your basil, but will call for your to pay attention to the process as you risk possibly scorching your leaves. Drying times will vary depending upon the wattage strength of your microwave.
Here’s a great video to show some of the neat things you can do with basil in your kitchen!
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Below is a wonderful article by Dr. Axe touting the amazing healing benefits of basil. After reading how it can help you, I bet you might look at it as a little more than an ingredient you put in your spaghetti sauce!
Basil is a common aromatic herb in the mint family, the same plant family as other nutrient-dense, beneficial herbs, including mint, and . Basil, of course, is used to add flavor to a variety of recipes, but what may surprise you is the many benefits of basil that make it well-known for its immunity-enhancing properties.
From its antioxidant properties to its abilities to fight cancer, I think you can see why this little peppery plant provides a lot of benefits, not just in the kitchen, but in our overall health.
How do YOU use basil?
Did you know that basil is also an essential oil? You can purchase yours here.