Basil is a culinary herb, actually in the mint family. Basil is a hearty vibrant green plant, it is very fragrant and widely used in many cultures.
It is best to tear your basil, but also popular to chiffonade your basil with a sharp knife. I sharp knife is key, as to not bruise your basil. A delightful combination is a tomato, basil, and balsamic glaze.
- Genovese basil, also known as sweet basil
- Thai basil
- Holy basil
- Lemon basil
Store your basil in a glass of water on the counter. If you store basil in the refrigerator it will turn black, basil doesn’t like the cold.
Vitamin K, A,C, manganese, copper, calcium, folate, iron, omega-3, magnesium
Herb butter is a great way to preserve herbs over the winter months.
Here is a quick step-by-step on how to chiffonade your basil:
Roll one basil leaf up lengthwise:
When you get to the end of one leaf, add another one and continue to roll like so:
Continue the process with 3 or 4 leaves until you have a good sized roll.
Take your roll and slice crosswise and you’ll be left with these lovely little ribbons of basil! The exposed surface area of the cut leaves provides the most “bang for your buck” in terms of flavor.
One question we’ve been asked is “are the basil flowers edible?” The short answer is yes, you can work with basil flowers!
If you are a gardener and have basil in your garden, you can cut back the basil tops to keep them from flowering for as long as possible. This allows the plant to transfer energy to the delicate leaves rather than trying to produce the flowers. If your basil flowers, however, there are some ways you can enjoy them! You can try them in a salad, though truth be told that is not so much our thing. A tea is always a welcome treat (definitely Jess’ thing), especially a basil flower iced tea in the summertime. As basil is part of the mint family, and it can be a lot like mint under the hood, especially mixed into cool drinks.
This doesn’t have to be a fancy recipe, simply toss some stems with basil flowers into your pitcher of tea or lemonade, and enjoy! It brings a welcome and refreshing summer kick to your standard beverage. We hope you enjoy these ideas, and as always, please let us know if you have anything to add!
Recipes Using Basil
Got tomatoes? This one is great for that influx of ripe heirlooms! A homemade or store bought pie crust will be needed, but the rest is simply simple. You’ll need some time (a few hours) to allow the tomato slices to lose their liquid, so plan for some prep in the morning and things should be ready for baking by dinner time.
The quintessential August recipe! This recipe from Alice Waters is Jess’ favorite at the moment. Taking the time to salt the eggplant removes any potential bitterness that may effect the overall flavor of the dish. (If you’re looking for fancy, there are many beautiful layered ratatouille versions out there as well.) This version uses a basil boquet that is removed after cooking, so you can get away with using basil that’s starting to bolt, making it a great end-of-season recipe!