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Meet Spice Gal Basil – Just One Of The Reasons Herb Is So Happy.

Hi. I’m Spice Gal Basil, but you can call me Basil. (That’s pronounced BAY-zil or BA-zihl.) Not to brag, but I am one of the great, classic herbs and Happy Herb’s favorite herb.

I’m a popular sweet herb of the mint family, with a licorice-clove flavor – best used fresh or dried. Leaf production slows or stops on any stem which flowers, so you should pinch off – I love to be pinched – any flower stems to keep the plant producing, or pinch off  – please pinch me – some stems while leaving others to bloom for decoration or seeds.

I usually grow to a height of 12 to 18 inches (30 – 45cm) – makes dating a bit challenging. If you thinking of helping me find the perfect match – I go great with cheese, chicken, duck, eggplant, eggs, fish, lamb, liver, olive oil, onions, pasta, pesto, pizza, pork, potatoes, rabbit, salads, shellfish, soups, sweet peppers, tomatoes, veal, vegetables, vinegars, zucchini, tomato sauce and…

I’m usually green, (although my favorite color is RED), though there are purple members of my family, such as Opal basil. Lemon basil, anise basil, clove basil and cinnamon basil – all have flavors similar to their names.

To keep me happy, wrap me in damp paper towel, put me in a plastic bag and refrigerate me for up to 4 days or place some of my stems in a glass of water with plastic over my leaves for about a week with regular water changing. You can dry and store me for 6 months in a cool dark place.
(Info from our friends at Food.com)

Here are some interesting facts about me from our friends at
Herbinfosite.com

Basil (that’s me) was first mentioned in English writing in the mid-seventeenth century and in American literature about 100 years later. Basil is considered sacred in the Hindu cultures, believed by many to be a favorite of their gods. In some cultures basil is a sign of love and devotion between young couples.

Basil is a powerful herb with a fragrant aroma and adaptable taste. Its taste will allow you to add it to many recipes as a pleasant accent. Basil is a key ingredient for tomato sauces and pesto recipes. A favorite use of pesto in French cooking is in soups. Italians favor pesto mixed with olive oil and used as a sauce for spaghetti. Fresh pesto is always better than the store bought version. Basil and tomatoes are a natural combination. Use this combination with Pizza. Another great recipe is to cut a crusty roll in half and add salt, olive oil, a few leaves of basil and slices of fresh tomatoes. Dress a tomato and mozzarella salad with shredded basil, salt and olive oil. Basil goes well with sweet peppers, fish dishes, meat dishes, wine-garlic sauces, chicken, in butter as a steak condiment, eggs, and shellfish. Fresh leaves are a great accouterment to any salad, cheese or stuffing recipe.

Ancient herbalists believed placing basil leaves on the bites or stings of insects would draw out the poison. Today’s herbalists recommend its use as a digestive and anti-gas aid. Some herbalists recommend it for easing anxiety and headaches because of the basil tea’s sedative properties. Use it for stomach cramps. It has been proven to ease constipation.

I can be found in many Italian recipes. I especially love Basil Pesto and Tomato and Basil Bruschetta. I’m sure you have your favorite recipes and I invite you to share them with all our friends on Facebook and/or Twitter

Try these recipes
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Basil Pesto
By Bonnie Traynor,
This is a wonderful lemon-flavored pesto. You can freeze this and have it ready to add to your spaghetti sauce or other sauces. It freezes great!

Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
1 1⁄2
cups fresh from your garden basil
2-5 garlic cloves
1⁄4
cup pine nuts
1⁄4
cup grated parmesan cheese
1⁄8
cup lemon juice
1⁄8
cup olive oil

Directions:
Mix everything together in food processor – except the oil and lemon.
Once everything is mixed well, drizzle with lemon and oil.
Mix until well blended.
Serve on pasta or just about anything that needs a pick me up.
Will keep in refrigerator for 2-3 days – best served fresh.
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Tomato and Basil Bruschetta
This recipe came from a great book Cucina Amore. (Provided by BothFex)

Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
6 roma tomatoes diced
2 
cloves garlic, chopped
2 
cloves garlic, peeled
3 
tablespoons olive oil
2 1⁄4
teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 
tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1⁄2
teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄4
teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
8 
slices Italian bread, cut about 1 inch thick
2 
tablespoons grated, parmigiana reggiano cheese

Directions:
Whisk together chopped garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, and basil.
When combined slowly drizzle in oil.
Add tomatoes and let sit for 20 minutes at room temp.
Toast the bread – either in the toaster (if it’s got really wide slots) or under the broiler (if using this method watch closely so it doesn’t become a brickette).
When the bread is toasted rub each piece, on one side, with the whole garlic pieces.
Place the bread on a cookie sheet and top with tomato mixture.
Sprinkle on a little cheese and broil till the cheese melts (you can skip that last broiling bit and it’s equally as wonderful).
Serve immediately.
Note; The tomato mixture also makes a wonderful vinegrette for an antipasto salad.

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