Sweet Basil A Favorite Herb
Basil is certainly one of the most versatile, delicious and easy to grow herbs that can be found in the herb garden and is one of the more familiar culinary herbs.
Growing basil is easy, inside or outside. As long as it has a sunny and sheltered spot, basil will thrive and reward you with delicious fragrant and aromatic leaves for many months.
History of Basil
Basil originates from India, hence its requirement for sun. Over time, basil found its way to Europe via the Middle East. The name ‘basil’ is derived from the Greek word meaning ‘kingly’. The ‘sacred basil’ variety is so highly thought of, it is dedicated to Krishna. As such, the Hindus very rarely use basil for culinary purposes.
Culinary Uses for Basil
Some freshly sliced tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and served with some freshly chopped basil, must be one of the most simple but delightful dishes you could prepare.
In fact, basil compliments most dishes as it combines well with so many different types of ingredients from carrots to potatoes to veal. See Basil Recipes for more ideas.
Cosmetic Uses for Basil
It is said that the leaves of basil can be crushed and massaged into the scalp to stimulate hair growth.
Some African tribes believe basil will encourage a good night’s rest if the basil plant is put underneath the pillow.
Domestic Uses for Basil
Basil will deter flies, so if you have you are growing basil inside. Bruise the leaves occasionally so that the fragrance is released.
Dry the seed heads of basil and add them to a potpourri and the dried stalks of basil can be burnt on the fire to repel midges and mosquitoes.
For a revitalizing bath, add some basil, lie back and enjoy.
Harvesting and Preserving Basil
Fresh basil is of course the best you can get, but in those winter months when basil is sadly not available, there are several methods of preserving basil that can keep you in a good supply.