Basil
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  • most varieties are easy to grow over the summer months in the garden or in pots
  • considered the ‘King of Herbs’ by many cooking experts, and the name reflects this as it is derived from the Greek word for ‘king’
  • thought to have been used in medicines reserved for royalty only
  • can be stored in the fridge for several days in a sealed plastic bag, or can be frozen, providing it is blanched first (steamed for 1 to 2 minutes)

Tear leaves rather than cutting. Add at the last minute to cooked dishes. Sprinkle over salads and sliced tomatoes. Basil’s rich pungent flavour compliments garlic. Use in pesto sauce and Mediterranean dishes, and to flavour blended vinegars. Use whole leaves and flowers as a garnish.

Basil needs well drained soil high in organic matter. A perennial herb which grows in a warm, sunny climate free from wind, frost and scorching sun.

A native of India, basil is held in reverence and is used by Indians to swear their oaths in court. Basil has been cultivated in Europe for some two thousand years for both medicinal and culinary uses.

Botanical Name: Ocimum basilicum (Labiatae)

Health Benefits

100g of fresh basil yields the following:

  • Calories – 23
  • Total Carbs – 1% of DV
  • Protein – 6% of DV
  • Dietary Fibre – 6% of DV
  • Vitamin A – 106% of DV
  • Vitamin C – 30% of DV
  • Calcium – 18% of DV
  • Iron – 18% of DV

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Selecting tips

Choose basil with fresh looking leaves and stems with no signs of yellowing or damage.

Store in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper.

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