There is nothing quite like basil. With hints of pepper, anise and mint, the flavour of basil is a balance between savoury and sweet. Because of the aromatic earthiness of the herb, it can add hints of sweetness to any recipe.
When you include basil in salads, it will add incomparable freshness. On the other hand, basil that has been dried is very different in flavour and texture. Dried basil will taste more like oregano and will be much mellower in taste.
Fresh basil can feel almost rubbery on your fingertips because of how silky they are. However, they tear as easily as paper and are soft. Until dried basil has been added to a dish, it looks a lot like oregano.
What is basil
Basil is a culinary herb that is also called Great Basil. It belongs to the family of mints or Lamiaceae. From Southeast Asia to Central Africa, basil is native to many tropical regions. Basil is a fragile plant that is used worldwide in all types of cuisines.
There are many different hybrids or species of basil. Sweet basil is typically used to enhance flavours. Other basil varieties include holy basil, lemon basil and Thai basil.
Having been around for over 3500 years, basil, throughout history, has been believed to hold magical powers. For example, it was thought to give strength during religious fasts and was often used for snake bites as an antidote.
How to store basil
You should store fresh basil leaves just like any other greens you use in salads. Store the leaves only after you’ve picked, washed and dried them. You can dry them up using a paper towel. Once done, seal it up in a plastic bag and store it in the fridge.
Dried basil, on the other hand, can be stored anywhere light does not penetrate easily. This means a cupboard over the counter may suffice. The container you use should be airtight and dry.
How do you know if basil has gone bad
A rotten smell, a moist texture and discolouration are some common indications of basil gone bad. However, before the green basil leaves turn black, it first becomes limp.
As natural oils are lost with age in dried up basil, it can change colour from an ashy green to black.
Dishes with basil
Pesto recipes are not the only recipes that basil is good for, despite what you have heard. However, you absolutely can whip up some fresh basil sauce if you, too, have an excited basil plant on your lawn.
But to get through the summer, you’ll need more than just pasta and basil combinations. Here are our top seven recipes you can make today using basil:
- Tuna Salad and Green Beans with a light basil dressing
- Basil Risotto with Seared Scallops
- Grilled Sweet Corn dipped in Basil Butter
- Aaliyah-e Khorma: a sweet and sour spicy dish using salmon and dates
- Big Green Pulses Salad
- Coconut and Tomato Curry that is brightened with lemon juice and fresh basil
- Basil-Cornmeal and Strawberry Shortcakes with Whipped Vanilla Cream
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