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Eat More Basil! 5 Must-Make Recipes for Fresh Basil

Posted Aug 10 2010 7:00am

Have you planted a patio herb garden yet? If not, what are you waiting for?! It’s easy, cheap, and will provide you with more fresh herbs than you know what to do with… literally! My basil is growing faster than I can make pesto. So I thought I’d do a little research on what’s so great about the herb (besides the fact that my childhood cat was named after it — RIP, Basil!).

According to WHFoods , basil has 60% recommended daily value of vitamin K, along with between 5-10% recommended value of calcium, iron, vitamin A, and fiber. It’s a good source of magnesium as well as potassium and vitamin C.

Basil’s flavonoids and volatile oils are supposed to have health-protecting properties. ( Read more here !)

Okay, but I don’t have to convince you to eat more basil, right? I mean, the stuff makes ANYTHING taste gourmet! And fresh basil is so much more tasty than the dried stuff. Store your fresh basil in the refrigerator wrapped in a slightly damp towel, or freeze extra herb in an airtight container (I’m definitely going to have to do this at the end of the summer!).

Now onto the good stuff. How can you use all that basil? I have a few ideas:

  • Chop it up and add it to fruit salad for a unique, summery flavor! I just tasted a fruit salad with added basil last night, and it really made for a special dish. The savory, almost spicy flavor of the basil just enhanced the sweetness and tartness of the fruit!
  • Make easy creamy pesto cream sauce. Combine garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and salt/pepper in your food processor. Then, heat cream over very low heat until it summers. Add it slowly to the food processor for a pasta topping TO DIE FOR.
  • Go classic with tomato and mozzarella. You really can’t go wrong when you combine tomato, basil, and mozzarella. I made a really easy caprese salad using those three ingredients, and it was lovely. Mary also has a great recipe for caprese bombs . Oh, and this caprese burger always looks mouth-watering.
  • Infuse olive oil with it. For every cup of oil, use two cups of tightly packed basil (you can also do this with any other herb). Blanch the basil in boiling water for five seconds and then throw it in an ice bath. After you squeeze out the liquid, puree the basil with the olive oil in a blender or food processor. Strain it if you want (I think the green bits would be pretty!), and then store refrigerated in a glass bottle. Use the oil any time you’d use regular olive oil for a wonderful added flavor!
  • Make basil-infused tea. Just let your basil sit in boiling water for about eight minutes to create a unique, savory tea.

And of course, I didn’t include pesto (presto!) in this list because it’s so obvious. But you can CERTAINLY make pesto — and you should!

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