eat me.

Day 156 of 365+1: a picture a day for a year.

Basil is the one herb that I must have in the garden. It’s easy to grow and the star of one of my best recipes- Tomato Basil Soup.

Stove Tomato Soup: pour 2 cans of tomato soup and equal parts milk (or cream if you prefer-for that thicker bisque soup) in a soup pan on med-low heat. Add 1/2 stick butter +/- depending on how many sit-ups you want to do later, 1 tsp. onion powder (can also chop fresh onions but most prefer the powder and don’t know it), a can of fire roasted tomatoes or regular tomatoes, or you can chop up tomatoes instead of using the canned tomatoes. I use organic but feel free to use what works for you. Let simmer on low for fortyish minutes and stir every five minutes or so to keep soup from sticking to bottom of pan. Salt and pepper to taste. Ladel soup in a thick mug or bowl. Top with (washed) freshly chopped basil, small cheddar cheese chunks and croutons. The soup is also yummy with sour cream and chives.

Other basil uses: prepare boxed pasta and toss with butter+basil before serving with sauce or top your sauce with basil, top a pizza off with chopped basil and parmesan cheese after removing cooked pizza from oven, add basil to the cheese when making a grilled cheese- I butter my bread and sprinkle a tiny bit of garlic salt on the outside, then layer Gruyère, basil, then cheddar on the inside and grill the outside slooooowly on low heat until the bread is browned and slightly crunchy- if you cook it fast it won’t be as tasty for some reason. You can even add basil + mint + watermelon cubes + watermelon juice to a pitcher for a refreshing summer drink or add basil to any freshly chopped fruit salad. Basically, having basil growing in my back yard rules because I can freshen up so many dishes with this herb! The key with basil is to not put in direct heat- it is most flavorful when added to a prepared dish so the flavors won’t muddle. Bon-appetite!

  • Basil leaves contain many notable plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties.
  • Basil herb contains many polyphenolic flavonoids like orientin and vicenin. These compounds were tested in vitro laboratory studies for possible anti-oxidant protection against radiation-induced lipid per-oxidation in mouse liver.
  • Basil leaves contains many health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
  • The herbs parts are very low in calories and contain no cholesterol, but are very rich source of many essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.
  • Basil herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin A, cryptoxanthin, lutein andzea-xanthin. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease process.
  • Vitamin A is known to have antioxidant properties and is essential for vision. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin-A has been found to help body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Vitamin K in basil is essential for many coagulant factors in the blood and plays vital role in the bone strengthening function by helping mineralization process in the bones.
  • Basil herb contains good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids, which helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  • Basil leaves are an excellent source of iron, contains 3.17 mg/100 g of fresh leaves (about 26% of RDA). Iron, being a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, determines the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.
  1. Jessica said:

    I never knew basil can be so pretty in front of a camera! And thank you so much for the info about basil….it’s going to be a staple now in my kitchen! I never knew it had so much nutritional benefits! If I buy fresh basil from the grocery store, how you recommend to store it? Thanks again!

    • Hey pretty lady! Store fresh basil in a small cup with a bit of water in the bottom of the cup. If you aren’t going to use all of the basil, chop up what you don’t use and freeze it! Then you can add basil to dishes in winter! =)

      • Jessica said:

        NICE!!! Thank you so much! I’ve always been stuck with wilty basil in the past…not anymore! 😉

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