Blog Site Discontinued June 23, 2017

Welcome. This blog site, healthy eating and food safety, has been discontinued as of June 23, 2017. I look forward to your comments and feedback regarding use of this tool to disseminate educational information.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Basil

Basil
There are more than 60 types of basil, all members of the mint family. Most recipes calling for basil mean sweet basil. The three most common basils are 1) Purple Opal with Its large, dark purple leaves that offer mildly spicy hints of clove, licorice, mint, and cinnamon. Its complexity shines in salads, baked goods, and beverages. 2) Thai has small, pointed leaves with serrated edges have peppery anise flavor. A hint of spicy heat makes this basil at home in Asian dishes. 3)Sweet Italian-this selection is the most common variety of basil, known for its licorice-clove flavor. Its clean, bright flavor makes it an ideal match for fresh tomatoes, or use it in Italian or Thai dishes.

Store basil in the refrigerator. Wrap it in paper towels and then in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. For long term storage, I like to take a dinner plate and place a paper towel on top of it. Then lay basil in a single layer. Cover with a second paper towel and microwave 1 ½ to 2 minutes. If leaves are not crunchy, microwave a few more seconds. Remove basil from plate and place and new paper towels on the counter. I have had success hanging basil and air drying. 

When using fresh basil in food preparation, I remove the larger stems and snip leaves with a scissors into smaller pieces. Another option is to gather several leaves and chop with a knife.

Fresh basil can be added to tomato sauce, soups, salads or pizza. Another option is to use basil in pesto and freeze the pesto in ice cube trays for later use.

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