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Familiar to unfamiliar basil: 7 ways to get the most out of the plant

Lubov NatochiyLS Food
Green basil is best for drying
Green basil is best for drying

Antiseptic, soothing, antispasmodic properties, the ability to improve appetite and normalize intestinal tone, as well as the ability to prevent hormonal disorders – all this makes basil a welcome guest on the table at any time of the year.

This is the opinion of Tetiana Anistratenko, a doctor of the highest category in the specialty of Nutrition Hygiene, PhD. And while the season lasts, these spices should be added to dishes, and at the same time, you should think about supplies.

1. Consuming basil fresh, adding it to salads or drinks is the most obvious way to use it. At the same time, it should be noted that the largest amount of essential oil in the leaves is during flowering. However, later on, the plant begins to give all its energy to ripening seeds, and the concentration of aromatic substances decreases. Therefore, you can pinch off the flower stalks, and then the basil will release lateral shoots.

If the plant is cut off completely, then the tough stems, which are not suitable for cooking, will also be useful. They can be poured with boiling water and used to make foot baths.

2. It is advisable to harvest the plant for drying at the beginning of flowering. Green basil is best suited for this, while purple basil retains its flavor less well.

Basil tea (especially with ginger or raspberries) will come in handy during the SARS season. It is no coincidence that this plant is also used in the pharmaceutical industry as a component of cough syrups.

And in India, they would probably advise adding dried basil to ghee, a highly refined, spiced butter that is valued by Ayurvedic medicine.

3. Basil can be salted in the same way as parsley and dill. This preparation is added to the first and second courses in the same amount as fresh - 2-3 grams, obviously reducing the usual amount of salt.

4. Freezing the leaves is also a good idea. Quick freezing allows you to preserve the greatest amount of nutrients. However, the texture of the leaves will still be lost, but this is relevant only for a spectacular serving of caprese.

5. Making basil sauce and freezing it is a great solution for those who care about both taste and health. In addition, freezing sauces in vacuum-sealed or zip-top bags allows you to avoid the hassle of sterilizing jars, pasteurizing the sauce, etc.

"Basil classics" are offered to us by Georgia and Italy.

In the first case, when making tkemali, plums, basil, garlic, and a pinch of ground black pepper go into the blender. This is not the only possible list of spices, but this combination is almost always the basis.

Familiar to unfamiliar basil: 7 ways to get the most out of the plant

In the second, pesto is made from basil, olive oil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and salt. And, of course, we remember that none of the articles about pesto is complete without disparaging attacks on the blender, saying that the herb heats up and loses its flavor in the bowl of the kitchen appliance, so the sauce should be prepared only by hand, grinding it in a mortar. But to be honest, I have little faith that any Italian food connoisseur will be able to tell the difference between handmade and machine-made sauces.

Adding spices to marinades is a great way to diversify the taste of traditional preserves. Basil is good for making pickled tomatoes. It will also make friends with apples or pears in a jar of compote.

7. You can infuse oil on basil leaves and flower stalks to make a delicious salad dressing. Keep this seasoning in a dark place. As for the shelf life, it depends on the oil you choose. In any case, it should not be stored for a long time.

You can also add a drop of basil essential oil to salad oil for a mild antiseptic and healing effect - but only if the manufacturer allows you to use their products as an internal remedy.

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