In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Should you chop basil? We will tell you how to harvest the basil, its many uses, and benefits in the kitchen.
Should you chop basil?
You can chop the basil with a food processor, but the most practical way is to use a sharp knife. Separate the leaves from the stems and form a roll with them. Place it on the kitchen board and cut them into strips. Rest the knife on the basil leaves and cut them with a back and forth motion to the desired size.
It is said that there are more than 60 varieties of basil, but the most common are green and purple basil. It is a fragile plant that can be between 20 and 50 centimeters tall. Its leaves are rounded and green or purple. Basil loses its aroma when it blooms, so it is advisable to consume it before its small white flowers appear.
How to harvest the basil
Whether you pick it from pots or from the garden, the basil will satisfy you if you break only the young leaves. In this way, the plant lives longer, and the leaves will later grow even bigger.
Remember, fresh, basil is the undisputed master of aromatic herbs! If you want the basil to retain its aroma, pick it before it blooms.
Harvest the basil leaves before they develop flowers. Remove the leaves before the flowers encourage the plant to grow more leaves
Inspect the basil plant until it has six to eight healthy leaves.
Remove the leaves from the plant with sharp scissors. Cut the basil leaf stems from the plant, but leave two to four leaves on each stem so the plant continues to grow.
Cut the stems at a 45-degree angle after harvest. Place the cut stalks in a jar with water and keep them out of the sun. The basil leaves will last long if the jar is covered with a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator.
In the kitchen
It is preferable not to mix the basil leaves with vinegar; Rather, combine it with olive oil, lemon, tomato, or olives, the classic ingredients of Mediterranean cuisine.
When buying basil, just wash it just moments before using it. If you want it to stay fresh longer in the fridge, wrap it in slightly damp absorbent paper. You can also place it in a tightly closed plastic bag in the fridge or store its leaves in a jar, covered with olive oil. If it is dried basil, keep it tightly closed and in a dark and cool place so that it does not lose its aroma and flavor.
Basil and its many flavors
Originally from Asia, basil is grown today in almost every corner of the world. There are several species of basil, the best-known being: “sweet basil”, grown in southeastern Europe, Egypt, Indonesia, Morocco, and the US, “gratissimum” basil is grown in eastern India and West Africa, “tulsi” grown in Malaysia, and “americanum” which, despite its name, is cultivated in Asia and Africa.
This “royal grass” has many varieties: in addition to the most famous basil, the Genoese, there are about 150 varieties. Here are some of them:
Aniseed basil – has a fine aroma, suitable for sweets, but also for teas. In Vietnam, Thailand, and Persia there are many traditional dishes flavored with this basil.
Dark opal variety – has purple leaves and pink flowers. It tastes harsher, more bitter than the typical Genoese basil, and is very good in cold tea.
Lemon basil – has a fresh and spicy aroma, suitable for fish dishes, but also for desserts and salads in Italian style.
The African blue variety – is distinguished by its red ribbed leaves. It has a slightly camphorated taste, suitable for Asian dishes or poultry soups.
Thai basil – is almost indispensable in South Asian cuisine. Its taste is somewhere between anise and licorice.
The benefits of basil
Basil strengthens the immune system, regulates the functions of the endocrine glands and cellular metabolism, toning the whole body.
Basil powder has an energizing and antidepressant action, removing the effects of overwork and balancing the mental and emotional state.
Basil tea has a calming, antidepressant, diuretic, expectorant, and tonic-digestive effect. Dried basil tea is recommended for people suffering from migraines on a nervous background, colic, gastritis and gastric ulcer, colitis, bronchitis, flu, or cardiovascular problems.
Basil syrup is recommended for people suffering from stomach, kidney, cardiovascular, depression, overwork, or anemia.
Basil tincture is recommended for depression, migraines, premature aging, colds, gastritis, colitis, and ulcers.
Basil adds a distinctive flavor to dishes and is notable for its fresh aroma. When growing basil in the garden, cut it properly for storage. Fresh basil loses its color and texture quickly once harvested. Storing basil keeps it fresh and lengthens its life. Cut it fresh only when you are going to use it to preserve its high quality.
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