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Basil

se in pesto or in a Caprese salad with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Add to cooked dishes at the last moment, as cooking can destroy its wonderful flavor.  1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil = 1 teaspoon dried basil.

BASIL IS NUTRIOUS:

Basil is an exceptionally rich source of vitamin K, but it also has manganese, copper, and vitamin A. Two tablespoons of the chopped herb contain a mere single calorie. Basil has many medicinal properties and is well known as a remedy for digestive upsets, and basil tea is said to dispel flatulence. It is often used to treat headaches and anxiety, and its aroma alone is reputed to have calming properties.

COMPLIMENTS IN THE KITCHEN:

Complementary Herbs, Seasonings, and Foods Cheese, chicken, duck, eggplant, eggs, fish, ginger, lamb, liver, marjoram, mint, olive oil, onions, oregano, pasta, pesto, pizza, pork, potatoes, rabbit, rosemary, sage, salads, shellfish, soups, summer savory, sweet peppers, tomatoes, tomato sauce, veal, vegetables, vinegars, zucchini.

 

Trimming and Cleaning:

Strip the leaves off the tough stems and wash thoroughly to rinse away any grit or sand. Then pat or spin dry.

Freezing:

You can freeze basil, either pureed with olive oil and garlic, or in leaf form (just be forewarned that the leaves will turn brown). If you don’t think you will use all of your fresh basil before it goes bad, chop it finely, mix it into a paste using ? cup of olive oil or cooled melted butter to every 2 cups of herbs, and then freeze the resulting mixture in ice cube trays. To thaw, simply pop out a few cubes into a strainer and let the oil melt away, or just drop them frozen into sauces or soups.

Drying:

Fresh basil is far superior to the dried version, which contains only a fraction of its distinctive flavor and fragrance. Even basil frozen in the manner described above is better than the dried herb. If you still want to dry the herb, spread a single layer of leaves on a cookie sheet and place the sheet in a warm (up to 180°F) oven for 3 to 4 hours, stirring the herbs periodically until they are thoroughly dry. Or remove the best leaves from the stems and arrange on a paper towel so the leaves do not touch. Cover this layer with another paper towel and add another layer of leaves over the top. Up to five layers may be dried at one time in the oven using this method. A microwave oven can also be used to dry small quantities of basil. Place 4 or 5 herb branches layered between paper towels in the microwave. Heat for 2 to 3 minutes on high power. If the basil is not brittle and dry when removed, repeat the microwave drying for 30 seconds more. Note: The heat generated during microwaving not only removes moisture but also some of the oils, so these herbs may not have as intense a flavor as herbs dried by other methods.

Pesto Sauce

  • 2 cups organic olive oil
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 8 ounces dry-roasted macadamia nuts
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground sea salt
  • 1 pound fresh basil leaves

In a food processor, mix the oil, garlic, nuts, and salt. Blend to a medium consistency. Gradually add the basil leaves and continue blending until you have a rich pesto paste. Transfer the pesto to a small container and lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of it to help prevent discoloration. If you have extra pesto sauce, store it in the refrigerator (also with the plastic wrap on the surface) and use it within the next few days.

Referenced: Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook, by Mi Ae Lipe