If you have been growing basil and wish to preserve some for further use, you can pick off the leaves, dry them out and make a wonderful basil and tomato salt. I try to dry them in the sun, when its possible, or otherwise place in your warming drawer when cooking in the oven and allow to dry. Use baby tomatoes, either out of your garden, or try and buy them organic, cut them in bits and also dry in the sun if possible or in the warming drawer. Once they are dry, add them to Himilayan Salt or any salt that is organic or additive and pollution free. Remember to try and allow one basil plant or stem to go to seed so that you can sow again in spring.
Another way to preserve your basil leaves, is to place in a bottle and cover with olive oil. It makes a wonderful drizzle to pour over tomatoes.
Some health benefits of Basil
Some of the best ways to get adequate nutrients is with the use of herbs
- Reduces inflammation and swelling
- Anti-ageing properties
- Rich in anti-oxidants
- Basil is rich in vitamin A, K and C, magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron
It is better to use any herb fresh to gain the nutritional content and you can do so by adding it to the following:
- Sliced tomatoes and mozzarella
- On top of pizzas
- In smoothies
Otherwise, add to tomato soup, stir fry and as a herbal tea
Always add the herb towards the end of the cooking process, to preserve the flavour.
Basil Pesto Recipe from Food Network
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese
Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.
If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.