Basil is an incredibly versatile herb that packs a punch of flavor. Its fragrant leaves are often found in Italian dishes and are considered sacred in Hindu cultures.
Fresh facts about basil:
- Originally found in India, Asia and Africa, basil was introduced to Europe through international trade.
- Basil can be used for medicinal purposes, such as digestive and gas related issues, anxiety, headaches and stomach cramps.
- One-half cup of basil provides 97.7 percent of your daily vitamin K, and has only 5 calories.
- Basil has been proven to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Vitamin A found in basil is converted into beta-carotene, which protects against free radicals, asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Basil is a warm weather annual that requires six to eight hours of sun.
- Harvest frequently by pinching leaves from the stems to encourage continued growth.
- As the weather warms, basil will bloom, causing the plant to stop growing. To prevent this, pinch off bloom stems.
- Basil is best added to dishes within the last five to ten minutes of cooking.
- Basil can be used dried or fresh in a variety of soups, salads, sauces and dishes.