A look into an herb garden usually reveals fresh herbs that we use in our recipes.
They can be aromatic herbs like parsley, thyme, basil, marjoram, dill, and rosemary. Basil is an important herb that is quite old and regarded as a royal herb in French history.
It is not only the French who use it; almost all Asian and African cuisines include Basil in their recipes.
Basil is an ancient and medicinal aromatic herb used by professional chefs in culinary recipes and therapy oils by apothecaries.
What does Basil taste like? It has a mild taste of mint-like quality and has an herby tone to it.
What is Basil?
Basil is a native of India, Africa, and Asia. Considered as a ‘holy herb’ by the Indian Ayurvedic Sages, that could heal any kind of ailments in the body. Its scientific name is Ocimum basilicum.
There are so many varieties of Basil. Wikipedia accounts that there are at least 60 varieties of Basil leaves in the world. The common and popular ones are Thai Basil, Sweet Basil, Cinnamon basil, Lettuce basil, and Bush or Greek basil.
Along with that, there are different varieties of hybrid basils like the African blue Basil and lemon basil, to name a few.
Basil leaves are commonly used as a cooking ingredient and as an essential oil for aromatherapy.
What Does Basil Taste Like? Does Basil Taste Good?
Basil is a versatile herb available in many varieties. Its flavors range from herby to minty, depending on the variety you use or grow yourself.
Each type has its own distinct taste and flavorings of course:
- Thai Basil- It has an anise-like flavor to it.
- Sweet Basil- It has clove and licorice-like flavor to it.
- Cinnamon basil- As the name suggests, it has a cinnamon flavor to it.
- Lettuce basil- The leaves resemble the leaves of lettuce and have a licorice flavor to them.
- Bush or Greek basil- It is quite similar to sweet basil in terms of taste and is easily confused by many people.
Eating basil from time-to-time can help increase your immune system as well as provide an assortment other healthful properties that are sure to make you feel better.
Basil, like most herbs and vegetables is capable of providing a wide range of benefits to the human body.
- It cures cold and blocked noses.
- It helps fight repair cells.
- It helps in improving your liver’s health.
- It helps in preventing symptoms of cancer.
- It helps in fighting premature aging.
Besides that, it also helps de-stress your anxieties, fastens your metabolism, and makes you feel refreshed.
According to the USDA, a 100 gram of fresh basil contains
- Around 90 grams of water.
- 90 kilojoules of Energy
- 3 grams of protein
- 2 grams of carbohydrates
- 1 gram of dietary fiber
- 170 mg of Calcium
- 290 mg of Potassium
- 3 mg of iron
- 60 mg of Magnesium
- 1 mg of Manganese
How to Cook/Use Basil?
There are many ways to incorporate Basil in your recipes. The most popular form of using basil is to make a pesto out of it.
Use fresh basil leaves and add your choice of ingredients like walnuts, pine nuts, or garlic and make a puree out of them.
Basil leaves are an excellent ingredient to use in salads as they give out an earthy and herby flavor to them. They are also good to use in soups for a relaxing and calming flavor. Check out this tomato basil soup recipe.
Basil is the last ingredient used in pizza as toppings. Because they have a rich and herby flavor, basil leaves complement seafood dishes too. Check out this pesto pasta with shrimp recipe.
Basil is also added in desserts and works quite well in cocktail drinks and mixes. Check out this excellent cocktail mix of watermelon basil spritzer.
You can also make infused oil from basil leaves. Infused oils are commonly used for aromatherapy to relieve people of stress and anxieties.
It is not advisable to chew on basil leaves as they contain mercury which can harm your teeth. Also, estragole in basil can lead to liver cancer so, avoid overconsumption of basil leaves.
People who have low pressure should also take precautions in consuming it as they can further lower down blood pressure.
This magical and ancient herb is a popular favorite of all people and used in all kinds of recipes. Because of its intense aroma, it is very easy to identify basil once it is present in a dish.
In fact, a fresh salad, pizza, or vegan dessert is incomplete without the use of basil.
The explosion of flavor that basil gives you is of an incredible fragrant feeling, and we hope that this post will bring justice to this festive herb.