Description: Basil is an annual plant found wild in the tropical and subtropical sub-tropical areas of the planet; elsewhere it is cultivated as a kitchen herb. The plant is very aromatic.
Basil’s usefulness is generally associated with the stomach and its related organs. It can be used for abdominal cramps, vomiting, intestinal catarrh, and constipation. Basil has also been advocated for headaches.1
Basil is probably one of the most common herbs used today. Growing up in an Italian household, fresh off the boat as it were, basil was a staple in our household and not only for pesto. Basil’s earthy odor permeated our home both inside and out. It grew in pots near the front door, was planted in the vegetable garden, and was prominently displayed on almost every windowsill in my grandma’s house. I know we used a lot of basil, but actually…
Today, in my own home, basil grows in the garden, in pots near the front door, and in the kitchen window. My grandmother’s obsession with basil was seemingly just a prelude to my own.
Even someone who lacks a green thumb, and I’m thinking primarily of myself, can grow basil. Throw a few seeds in a pot, and voila, you have basil. It is fast growing, easily harvested, and just as easily saved.
Beyond the terrific fragrance, basil is just so plain useful. Rub a basil leaf across an insect bite to relieve the itching and redness, or steep the leaves in boiling water to create an excellent herbal tea to alleviate nausea or that bloated feeling you get after eating a large supper. Basil is also an old folk remedy for bringing on delayed menstruation.
Most of us already know that ginger is a great addition to spaghetti sauces, but did you know that basil was thought to ward of evil spirits? Basil was strewn across floors, because where it is no evil can live. It was also given as a housewarming gift to bring good fortune.
I’m including my favorite basil recipe for pasta. It’s a sauce that makes up very quickly and has a wonderfully light, herbal flavor that’s great during the hot summer months.
8-10 fresh basil leaves chopped
1/4 cup coarsely chopped onion
12 oz. Spaghetti
Saute garlic and onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, just long enough for the onion to turn transparent. Add butter. Add basil and chopped tomato. Saute this on low for one or two minutes. You do not want the butter to explain, but to retain its creamy appearance. After the tomato softens, crush it with a potato masher, thoroughly mixing the sauce. of pasta, mix and serve immediately.
A couple of hints:
* To peel the tomato, drop it for a moment in the pot of water you’ve boiling for your pasta. The skin will peel away quickly and easily.
* When preparing pasta make sure to use plenty of water, oil and salt. Many people feel their pasta lacks flavor, and it’s generally because they don’t add salt to the water. When you sample the pasta to find out if it is prepared, the pasta should have a salty flavor. If not, add more salt to your water.