Nutritious & Delicious Basil
Basil is thought to come from the Greek word “basileus,” which means “king,” and it is referred to as “king of the herbs.” It is used frequently in many different cuisines, including Mediterranean, Asian, and Indian. There are several varieties of basil. Lemon basil has a hint of lemon and Thai basil has a licorice taste. Italian or Genovese basil is the most common form; it has an anise aroma and taste.
In some cultures, basil is used as a treatment for acne, stress, asthma, and diabetes. Recent research suggests that basil’s essential oil may have antifungal and antimicrobial properties.
Basil pairs particularly well with tomatoes and is frequently sprinkled on prepared dishes for garnish, color, and added flavor. Due to its popularity, basil is now being featured in less traditional culinary recipes, such as chocolates, ice creams, and cocktails.
To store fresh basil, rinse under cool water, pat dry, and store in a zip-top bag lined with paper towels in the refrigerator. When using fresh basil in a recipe, it should be added toward the end of the cooking process to preserve its flavors.
Basil seeds may be used as a thickener because they form a gel when placed in liquid.
This article was submitted by Gena Seraita, R.D., Clinical Nutritionist at NYP/Allen Hospital.
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