The word basil is derived from the Greek word basileus which mean, “royal” or “kingly.” Ancient Greek and Roman doctors believed that basil would only grow if the seeds were sowed while screaming wild curses. In Italy, basil is deemed a token of love. In India, many devout Hindus sleep with a basil leaf on their chest, as a passport to Paradise. Basil has been shown to have antioxidant, anticancer, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties and in India it is traditionally used to treat stress, asthma and diabetes.
Taste and Uses
Basil has a clove-like flavor with a strong, pungent, sweet smell. It is the ultimate complement to tomatoes, and also pairs nicely with onions, garlic and olives. Basil is most well known for its role in Italian cuisine; however, it is also often used in Asian cuisine.
For the most intense flavor, fresh basil should be added to cooked dishes or at the very end of the cooking process because prolonged heat will cause its oils to dissipate, which reduces the distinct flavor. To use North Shore Living Herbs® Basil snip the amount you need from the root ball then wash and pat dry. Incorporate the whole leaf or mince finely with a sharp kitchen knife, depending on your recipe. When substituting fresh herbs in a recipe calling for dry, one part dry is equal to three parts North Shore Living Herbs®. Try one of our recipes or simply pair it with some of the ingredients suggested below:
- Vegetables: zucchini, corn, bell pepper, tomato, green beans, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, eggplant, squash, spinach, artichoke, fennel, onion, potato
- Seafood: lobster, shrimp, crab, red snapper, salmon (fresh and smoked), grouper, tuna
- Meat and Poultry: chicken, turkey, beef, veal, lamb, sausage
- Soups and Sauces: corn chowder, tomato, minestrone, vegetable soup, béchamel
- Dairy: egg dishes, ricotta, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, bleu cheese, goat cheese
- Legumes and Grains: tabouleh, polenta, cannellini beans, rice (all varieties), couscous, all pasta
- Fruit and Dessert: watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew, apple, peach, nectarine, pear, figs
- Herbs and Seasoning: lemon, lime, mint, oregano, chili, garlic, chives, ginger, capers, curry, coconut milk