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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Basil - How to Use It

Before I talk to you about basil I want to tell you what happened the other day.  I went for a CTScan and I had to lay there for a few minutes to be sure everything was o.k.  The 20-something technician was with me and I made a comment about how incredible it is that someone can think up things such as CTScans.  She replied, "Right.  And a woman your age has seen so much in your lifetime."  I turned my head towards her and said, "Right!  That first fire was awesome!"  She became all flustered and apologized.  I laughed and said,  "No problem but think before you use that phrase again."   Ah!  Youth!!
Now on to basil.  I love all things basil.  I love tomato basil soup, basil, tomato, mozzarella cheese salad and basil bruschetta - to name a few.  
According to Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor and Ailene King, Student Intern at the University of Vermont, there are other uses for basil than cooking and eating. 
Also, according to Plant, "Basil is a supreme warming digestive aid. It is aromatic which also helps move stagnation and congestion, and improve circulation. Taken hot, basil (especially Tulsi) is an exceptional diaphoretic. 
Basil infused in oil and massaged in daily (as well as eaten is a nourishing tonic for the whole body, especially the brain, memory, while adding luster to hair, skin, and nails."

Back to the University of Vermont.  Here is what they have to say:
The most common use of basil is for cooking, such as in tomato sauce, pesto, or vinegars. But it also can be sprinkled over salads and sliced tomatoes, either whole or chopped. Actually, don’t chop the leaves, but tear them instead for the most flavor.
To make oil for salads, pound the fresh leaves and mix with a good salad or vegetable oil. If freezing the leaves, coat them with olive oil first. Leaves also can be dried and stored in salt.
In the landscape, don’t merely relegate basil to the herb or vegetable garden. Consider planting it in scented gardens, or use it as edging along a bed or path that you'll brush past and release the aroma. Or try mass plantings of basil in a border, plant in decorative outdoor containers, or grow in pots indoors, if you have lots of light. In ancient times, pots of basil on the windowsill were used to deter flies.
Other uses of basil include the cosmetic. Put fresh leaves in a hot bath as an infusion, for example. As a tonic, steep a few leaves in wine for several hours. Or steep in water as a tea to aid digestion. A drop of basil oil on shirtsleeves will help counteract mental fatigue.

I find this all very interesting and informative - especially the mental fatigue item.  It seems that I am learning new things every day that make a difference in my life - just like the first fire!

Meanwhile .... keep it simple and make it real.


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