Loving Basil!

Fresh Basil with Tomatoes

I have always liked basil and am always anxious to plant it in my herb garden each year.  It is one herb that does not come back every year so I have to wait awhile before it grows enough to make pesto.   This year, I am growing four basil plants so that I will have enough.  I love using sweet basil leaves on my sandwiches.  I take a whole wheat round, add fresh sliced tomato and some fresh mozzarella cheese.  I heat it in my toaster oven until the cheese is melted, then add basil leaves.  Hum!  I am also growing a variegated basil plant and this one does not flower at the top so I don’t have to always be on the lookout for it to stop producing leaves.  This one is not quite as sweet but is a good plant for pesto.  I plan to bring that one in for the winter in a pot so that I can have fresh basil all year.  For the others, right before the first frost I harvest all the leaves and dry them.  They taste so much better than the dried basil you buy.  Since I eat so much of it,  I decided to check it out and see if there are any benefits of basil besides making my taste buds happy and found that there are several benefits.  It protects against DNA damage and has high antioxidant oils. The leaves of basil are loaded with beta-caryophyllene, an anti-inflammatory compound that can help reduce arthritis pain.  Check out this article below for more information as well as the recipe attached for pesto.  For the pesto, feel free to use walnuts or even pistachios instead of pine nuts if you like…

3 health benefits of basil – Canadian Living

Homegrown Recipe: Turn too much basil in the garden into pesto in

A favorite summer crop just reaching its peak — flavor- and price-wise— is fresh basil. It has to be picked and used (or preserved) while it’s fresh and preferably before the plant starts to flower. The folks at The Truffle Cheese