Basil is an herb-related mint family, it comes in over 40 varieties, but few of them are famous. The variation that people know is the sweet with the scientific name Ocimum Basilica.
It`s flavor and aroma have secured the herb a lasting popularity around the world. The taste described as rich and spicy, peppery with traces of mint. This herb has undoubtedly contributed to an more taste in many of your dinners.
History and Origin
It is assumed that basil originated in the Hunan region of China and spread to Egypt through India. In India, Basil was associated with Tulasi, the wife of the Hindu god, Vhisnu. It was said that when she came back to earth she shruged like a basil. So, it was kept holy, and Hindus were quick to pray for forgiveness if they touched it.
In Egypt, it was used as one of several important herbs in the balsamation of mummies. During ancient times, the herb became known in Greece, where a legendary myth was spun around it as a cure for a piece of a dragon-like creature known as << basilicus >>.
This creature should have the head of a rooster, the body of a snake, and the wings of a bat. Basil was said to be the only cure for a bite of this creature. Legend further states that if you saw << basilik >> in your eyes you would immediately die. Because of its effect on this mythical basilica was also added to medical properties against bites and stuck by real animals.
The Romans thought that it would only have its medical effect if the one who sowed it banned while the plant was sown. To this day, the French phrase still means to plant the basil << semer le basilic >> also << openable and fantasic >>.
In Romania it’s an old custom that if a boy accepted a spike basil from a girl, he had to marry her. In most countries, basil has been a “royal” herb. Basil means Greek King or Royal. This may be because in many regions, basil in perfumes was for kings.
How to grow basil
There are different opinions about whether basil is an annual or perennial plant. Because, in most temperate climates, it acts in practice as an annual plant because it can not live the year through the harsh northern regions. Basil is perennial and can last for several years indoors only it gets good with light and heat. The basil can grow much better if trimmed.
When cultivating outside, be aware that basil is a whimsical plant. In the middle of the day it can get too hot and the sun would burn the leaves if it is not covered, at night, the temperature should not go below 15 degrees. Young plants are also vulnerable to wind. But, it is completely possible to grow plants in pots and tubs placed indoors overnight.
Because basil seeds are very small, you get the best results if you wrap them in a box with a very light cover of soil over. Fill up enough water in the box (but not more) to make the soil absorb moisture and a wet spot on the top is shown.
Some claim that the plant gets a better start if they are watered with chilled herb just after you see the first shoots of seed leaves. When the plants are about three centimeters high you should thin so that each plant is about two centimeters apart. Wait until the basil plants are at least 10 cm. tall and sear at least two sets of real leaves before planting them.
Basil prefer light fertile and some dry soil, pay special attention to the fact that you do not water too much as this can lead to rotting. Many people think that a standard 4-inch pot is the perfect size for a single plant, but if you want to grow it closer, it’s good with 5.
Harvesting of seeds
Basil seeds are viable for approx. 8 years after harvest and are very small. It goes as much as 23000 basil seeds on one gram. If you want to harvest seeds you must allow some of the strongest plants to flourish. If you leave the flower alone, the plant will self-see.
How to harvest basil
Cutting off some leaves will often cause the plant to become more << bushy >> and give you a better crop, and cutting off the top will often give you two new top shoots. Basil flowers are edible, it is recommended to harvest the leaves before the plant blossoms, as most of them think the leaflets are far more tasty. Older leaves can get a bit tough and absorb a somewhat bitter taste.
The leaves can be harvested as whole plants, some branches or just a few leaves at a time. The best part is to harvest the largest leaves first. If you harvest / cut the stems of the plant every few weeks, this will stimulate new growth and delay flowering. You can cut it down to a few centimeters above the ground to get more crops of the same plant.
Basil can be used immediately or dried for later use. If you choose to dry them, hang them in bundles in a dry and dark place. If you want to save it << fresh >> you can put it in a damp tissue and store it in the refrigerator for up to a week. Another way to store it is to pack them in ice-cream trays together with water to freeze them. If necessary, you can add these << ice cubes >> in soups and sauces.
Like many herbs and vegetables, basil has antioxidant properties that help keep us healthy. It is full of oils that inhibit bacterial growth and the essence of the basil oil has been shown to have an ability to fight some pathogenic bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotic treatment.Basil also contains drugs that can kill infectious bacteria that cause diarrhea. Some nutrition advisers recommend using basil in salad dressings to reduce the risk of diarrhea caused by bacteria from vegetables.
Basil has anti-inflammatory properties, which can make it a good herbal to consume for people suffering from arthritis. An oil in basil called Eugenol blocks the activity of an enzyme in the body called cyclogenergase. The enzyme will normally cause swelling of the body in people wearing arthritis.
Basil is a source of vitamin K, iron, vitamin A, manganese, magnesium, and vitamin C.
Basil in food
Basil is a matter of course in many Italian and Thai dishes and is the most important ingredient in pesto. It compliments both garlic and tomato very well. The basil is very good in both soups, sauces dressings and mayonnaise and to many tasty dishes.
If you choose not to grow it yourself, buy it at the store, make sure to choose bundles that have a fresh green color. Avoid bumps with dark or yellow spots.
Dried basil is normal bought in glass. Fresh basil has more flavor, but the difference between fresh basil and dried basil is not very big. Home-made fresh basil, usually has more flavor.