When it comes to basil, belongs to the mint family.
It is a very common ingredient in dishes, it gives them a special taste and its nutrients can provide you with numerous health benefits.
There are several types of basil.
This is sweet basil. Sweet basil recreates a big role in most Mediterranean cuisines, especially Italian.
It is the main ingredient of pesto, a very famous, traditional Italian sauce.
It is also added to salads, pizzas and pasta.
Thai, Vietnamese and Indonesian cuisines likewise use this herb to prepare their dishes.
Sweet basil can provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants when added to your meals.
Basil essential oil can also have numerous medicinal benefits.
Sweet basil is most commonly used and is available in most stores.
Other types of basil have different tastes and smells, are less known and are used by certain cultures.
Tulsi, or as it is also called, holy basil, has a huge therapeutic role in Ayurvedic and Tamil medicine.
These types of medications are most commonly used in Southeast Asia.
If you haven’t already, you should consider including it in your diet.
Basil is very easy to grow. If you have a garden it is a great idea to always have fresh basil.
But what if you have more basil than you need? Don’t worry, there are ways to save it for later without it going to waste.
How to store basil
Basil can be stored in several ways to keep it fresh and preserve its aroma and taste.
The first way to store basil is to wrap it in paper and then place it in an airtight container or ziplock bag.
Wrapped like this, it can be stored in a surface container along with other greens.
It needs to be in the fridge and it can last for about two weeks which is more than enough, agree.
Another way is to put it in a jar of water like a bouquet.
Keep the jar of water on the kitchen counter or table at room temperature.
Do not expose to direct sunlight.
Change the water every few days to keep the basil fresh as long as possible. Basil left this way can last up to two weeks.
The third way is to store it dried. There are several ways to dry basil.
If you are in a hurry, you can chop it, put it in a tray and then dry it in the oven at a low temperature.
You can also dry it chopped like this by putting it on a tray and leaving it at room temperature to dry on its own, then move it to a jar and store it as a spice.
You can also air-dry basil if you don’t chop it.
Hang small bouquets of basil upside down and leave them to dry in a dry and warm room.
Store dried in a jar or hermetically sealed container. Don’t forget to put a date so you know when to use it.
Dried basil that you planted yourself, tied with a ribbon can be a great gift for dear friends.
How to freeze fresh basil
There are several ways to freeze basil and use it later as a seasoning for dishes. But also as medicine or tea.
The first way is to chop the leaves, put them in ice trays, cover them with cold water and then freeze them.
Later, when you defrost it, it will turn a darker color than usual, but don’t worry, it will still taste like basil.
Another, very interesting way to freeze basil is basil cigarettes.
Basil is rolled into large leaves and then frozen.
Basil frozen in this way can resist a short blanching very well.
Wash and freeze
The third, very simple way is to simply wash it and freeze it.
First, wash and dry the basil leaves.
After that, remove the stems and spread the basil on a baking sheet or cookie sheet and freeze.
When it is frozen, transfer it to freezer bags. Divide it into several components and use as much as you need.
You need to put dates on your bags to use your basil in time.
Slice and freeze
Chop the basil coarsely. You can do this with a knife or in a blender very briefly so that it does not turn into a paste.
When it is chopped, add a little olive oil to the blender and start the blender to pulse.
The olive oil will cover the basil leaves and prevent them from turning black in the freezer.
Transfer the mixture you made to ice trays and freeze.
Once the basil is frozen, transfer it to freezer bags and then use it when you need it.
This is a great way to freeze basil because it will prevent your basil from turning black.
Although it will not lose its flavor, it is still nicer when the basil looks green as if it were fresh.
Blanch and freeze
First, blanch the washed basil leaves for ten minutes, then dip them in ice water to stop the cooking process.
After that, the leaves should be dried well and then frozen.
Frozen leaves should be moved to freezer bags and used as previously mentioned if necessary.
Also, as in the previous steps, your basil should be marked with the date.
If you have frozen basil in a few rounds, you should use the one with the oldest date first.
If you have more fresh basil than you need, there are other ways to preserve basil for later use.
Freezing basil in Pesto
Yes, you heard right. And if you think about it a little more, pesto is just one step away from freezing basil in olive oil.
You can make your pesto sauce very easily and adjust it to your taste by adding the ingredients you want to the basic ingredients.
We advise you to freeze the pesto made in this way in ice containers, and then place the container in a freezer bag.
This is the ideal way to freeze basil because you can always take exactly as much basil as you need.
You can add it directly to dishes without having to defrost them ahead.
How long is frozen basil good for?
Basil can be kept frozen for about a year.
It should be noted that basil frozen in water or simply frozen may turn black over time.
Basil frozen in olive oil or as pesto will stay green longer.
How to thaw frozen basil?
Basil is a very delicate plant, so it takes very little time to thaw.
The easiest way is to take the basil out of the freezer and leave it on the work surface. They will thaw in a few minutes.
Basil that has been frozen in olive oil will take a little longer to defrost, 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your portions of basil.
Do You Have to Thaw Frozen Basil?
No, you don’t have to at all. You can add frozen basil in any form directly to cooked dishes, sauces or soups.
It is not necessary to defrost it earlier, your dishes will be perfectly delicious.
Why are you not supposed to refrigerate basil?
Unlike other herbs such as parsley, it is not recommended to store basil in the refrigerator because cooling can cause the basil to darken.
Is too much basil toxic?
When taken in the amounts we use in our diet, as an addition to meals, basil has no harmful effects on humans.
However, when taken as a medicine it can be unsafe.
Fresh basil, as well as basil oil, contain a substance called estragole.
Estragole is a chemical that, if consumed in large quantities, can increase the risk of liver cancer.
However, the question is how large quantities that can be introduced into the body to cause such a severe illness.
Does basil grow every year?
Basil is an annual herb. This means that you have to replant it to have fresh basil every year.
Does basil have health benefits?
Yes, basil has numerous health benefits and some of them are listed below.
Data from a study conducted on rats in 2015 show the following: Antioxidants found in a special type of basil called Tulsi, or holy basil, have a positive effect on liver health.
Reducing oxidative stress
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in our bodies.
Antioxidants are necessary to rid our bodies of free radicals.
Free radicals develop as a consequence of certain processes in the body and as a result of metabolism.
They can also occur as a result of smoking or an unbalanced diet.
Antioxidants that basil contains help rid the body of free radicals that can harm our health.
Many health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease are associated with oxidative stress.
Antioxidants from basil such as anthocyanins and beta-carotene can prevent it.
Reducing high blood sugar
Promoters of traditional medicine recommend basil as a preventive measure against high blood sugar.
One study even showed that basil leaves can help treat the long-term effects of high blood sugar.
If this claim proves to be true, basil extract could be very important for people suffering from diabetes.
According to some information from 2013, it is believed that substances from the holy basil Tulsi can prevent cancer.
The authors of these findings concluded that the phytochemicals that this basil contains can help prevent various types of cancer, such as skin cancer, oral cavity cancer, liver cancer, eye cancer, and lung cancer.
This information is based on the fact that the antioxidant activities of basil cause cell death and slow cell division.
However, these studies were performed on animals and were preclinical, so further research must be conducted to confirm the effects with certainty.
According to certain sources from 2011, it is believed that sweet basil extract can lower blood pressure, but only briefly.
This is attributed to the eugenol content of the basil extract.
Eugenol has such an effect that it can block calcium channels in the body and thus lower high blood pressure.
However, two minutes after the scientists used the extract, the high blood pressure returned to its high values.
In another study involving 24 volunteers, one group took a placebo pill and the other a pill containing 300 mg of dried tulsi extract.
After four weeks, people who took tulsi extract had lower levels of triglycerides and cholesterol than people who did not.
After this study, it was concluded that taking tulsi extract could help in reducing some risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
In traditional medicine, basil was used as an antimicrobial agent against various strains of bacteria.
This oil has been found to successfully fight infections such as respiratory, urinary or skin infections.
Mental stress can cause the production of free radicals in the body.
Holy basil was used in Ayurvedic medicine, among other things, to treat disorders such as anxiety and depression.
It is also good as a medicine for diseases caused by aging and memory loss.
Its effects can be beneficial for problems such as insomnia.
Basil has a lot of ingredients that are beneficial for health, but some unwanted effects can also occur.
Just one cup of basil contains very large amounts of potassium, which causes blood to clot.
A high level of potassium can affect some medicines taken to thin the blood.
So anyone using blood thinners should talk to their doctor before using basil.
For the previous reasons, doctors advise you to stop consuming basil at least two weeks before any surgery.
Some people can have allergic reactions to plants that come from the mint family. They may react if they consume basil in any form.
Anyone with allergies to basil should be aware of any food and check beforehand whether basil is part of that food.
If redness, swelling or difficulty breathing occurs after consuming basil, the person should receive emergency medical help.
Allergies can be very serious so an allergic reaction can develop into anaphylaxis, a life-threatening emergency.
More facts about basil
Although the use of basil is more or less known, there are many questions that we will try to answer.
The bitter taste of basil
Sometimes basil leaves can be bitter. This happens when the flowers mature into seeds.
Moreover, excessive or insufficient watering of basil can lead to a bitter taste in the leaves.
So, as with most things, the cure is in restraint.
Why should we not chew basil leaves?
Tulsi leaves should not be chewed as they contain mercury.
If they are, the mercury content in this type of basil is released and will harm your teeth and damage your vision.
This can lead to a change in the color of your teeth.
This does not apply to sweet basil, but only to Tulsi, basil that is also called holy basil.
Who should avoid basil?
We have already stated that people who take blood thinners or have allergies should avoid Tulsi.
Moreover, pregnant women or trying to conceive are advised to avoid this type of basil.
Does basil repel mosquitoes?
Basil works great against flies and mosquitoes. Sweet basil contains a substance called Eucalyptol.
It is excellent against mosquitoes if it is massaged into the skin.
In addition to this, this substance from basil is very effective in removing cockroaches and lice.
Can you eat basil after it has flowered?
Of course. Basil flowers are safe to eat and have a similar flavor to the young leaves. Unlike the young leaf, they are a little softer.
Why is basil good for your stomach?
Basil can be helpful for your upset stomach because it contains carminatives and aromatic tonics that calm gases.
These ingredients are excellent for alleviating the symptoms of indigestion.
Basil for inhalation
Dried basil is an excellent remedy for inhaling stuffy noses.
It is necessary to inhale this tea several times during the day to relieve the problems of a stuffy nose.
Basil tea is classified among teas with a wide range of effects.
In addition to the numerous advantages that we have already mentioned, basil tea is an excellent remedy for sinus inflammation.
In this case, it is best to boil it in milk and then inhale for about 15 minutes.
Basil is believed to be native to Asia (India and Pakistan. It can be found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world.
Due to its popularity, basil is also called the “king of herbs”.
There is some information that basil originated further east than India, and some ancient records from the year 807 testify that sweet basil was used in the Hunan region of China.
Is basil native to Italy?
Undoubtedly, basil is one of the most loved and the most popular herbs in Italy.
Although its origin is linked to Italy and the Mediterranean countries, it actually originates from India or China, it is not exactly established.
It was brought to the Mediterranean in ancient times via spice routes.
Basil is a very popular herb in countries around the world. One of them is certainly Italy.
It gained its popularity due to the numerous benefits it has for human health, and most of all, as a spice for various dishes.
Basil gives dishes a specific aroma that is hard to resist.
We believe, you must have tried at least one dish with basil as a spice.
If you haven’t, try it, this magical spice will surely mesmerize you.