Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Basil Faulty? No!

Every time I hear the word Basil it reminds me of Faulty Towers. This herb has been around well before the 1970s comedy TV programme started.

Basil strikes me as a versatile and widely used herb with many varieties with diverse characteristics. Some basil varieties have scents as far ranging from pineapple to cinnamon and lemon to cloves The colours range from cool green to striking purple leaves. Basil grows well in warmer climates and is used throughout southern European area, especially the Mediterranean region and in parts of Asia.

Thai curry uses a variety called holy basil or tulsi this is an important part of the make up of an authentic Thai curry. Mediterranean regions use basil and tomato as the classic combination. Pesto of course is made from crushing basil leaves and adding pine nuts and sometimes Parmesan cheese and olive oil as an addition gives another classic dish.

Apart from it's magnificent contribution to food, basil is a carmenative, which means it relieves gas. When brewed with tea is said to also aid digestion.and relieving stomach cramps, sickness and constipation.

Basil being an annual plant is very easy to grow from seed but hates the cold. If you buy basil, look for bright green leaves with no wilting or black spots on the leaves. Dried basil is a suitable alternative, it keeps little of the aroma and flavour of fresh basil if not kept too long in storage. so there is no excuse not to use this versatile herb all year round.

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