30 Dec

Okay SO this is another stocking stuffer, about BASIL




It’s all about  the   BASIL    about the   BASIL

animated music notes



   (which can also be eaten like spinach or brewed into a tea )



John Cleese as Basil Fawlty

The fictional hotelier Basil Fawlty
No this is about  Basil the herb
Basil  is a common name for the culinary herb Ocimum basilicum, of the family Lamiaceae ( mints ) ,   sometimes known as Saint Joseph’s Wort in some English speaking countries.
The word basil comes from the  Greek  βασιλεύς ( basileus )  meaning “king”.
The warming, aromatic constituents of basil help to calm the nervous system, settle the stomach, clear the mind and fight  off coughs, colds, flu and allergies.
African legend claims that basil protects against scorpion,   while the English botanist Culpepper  cites one “Hilarius, a French physician” as affirming it as common knowledge that smelling basil too much would breed scorpions in the brain.
It is believed that the herb was found growing on the original cross of Christ when it was discovered by the Empress Helena  , and hence basil has religious significance in the Greek Orthodox Church ,   where it is used to sprinkle holy water.
It has been considered an aphrodisiac by some, is associated with the pagan love goddess, Erzuli , and is used in love spells . In Italy, where sweet basil is called “kiss me Nicholas,” “bacia-nicola,” it is thought to attract husbands to wives , and a pot of basil on a windowsill is meant to signal a lover .
 Basil has been found not to significantly affect the taste of tomatoes when planted adjacent to them but helps them grow in a companion planting
The most useful thing to know about basil is that the less it cooks , the better it is , and that it’s fragrance is never more seductive than when it is raw.
SO you should only add Basil to pasta sauce after it is done , when it is being tossed with the pasta.
Some recipes call for cooking basil in a soup or stew , sacrificing some of the liveliness of it’s unfettered aroma in order to bond it to that of the other ingredients.
Try to use only the freshest basil .    Some folks ( me included ) buy the little potted plants and only tear off what you need when you need it.
It’s best not to take a knife to the Basil.   If you do not want to use the whole leaf , then tear it into smaller pieces by hand..
So having said all that about fresh basil , and you will agree when you try it if you have not already,    I do use dried basil in many of my soups and stews.
But try to use the fresh if you can.



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