Thai Basil

General Information

Basil is a tender, low-growing herb. It is originally native to Iran, India and other tropical regions of Asia, having been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years.  There are many varieties of basil, like sweet basil which is used in Italian food and Thai basil (pictured), which is used in Asia.  Basil is most commonly recommended to be used fresh in cooked recipes.  It is generally added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavor.  Basil is used more in Thai cooking than Italian, which is not surprising since the plant is said to have originated in Thailand and/or India.  The leaves of this herb are tossed into salads, stir-fried dishes, and curries.


Health Benefits

Basil is a very good source of magnesium and Vitamin K. Magnesium promotes cardiovascular health by improving blood flow, and Vitamin K help the blood clots.

Storing & Cooking Information

Handling:  Wash basil and remove leaves from stem.  Pile the basil leaves on top of each other. Next, roll them all together and start slicing from the end.

Storing: Basil should be used quickly.  Do not wash prior to putting in fridge.  To avoid discoloration, the optimum storage temperature is between 40 and 45 F.  The best option is to put basil stems in glass of water on a countertop and use within a few days.

Freezing:  Pinch off all the basil leaves, discard the stems, and wash the leaves very well in a salad spinner. Spin them as dry as you possibly can. If you don't have a salad spinner, just wash your basil leaves in the sink and dry them well with paper towels. Put a few of handfuls of basil into the food processor, using the steel blade. The food processor bowl should be full, but not tightly packed. Pulse the food processor with one hand and drizzle olive oil into the feed tube with the other hand, just pulsing until the basil is coarsely chopped. You should make sure that all the basil is coated with oil too, which keeps it from going dark in the freezer. Use about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil for each batch in the food processor when making coarsely chopped basil like this to use for pasta sauce, soup, or stew during the winter. Freeze in small Ziplocs or ice cube trays to thaw small amounts to use in recipes.

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