I absolutely love cooking with herbs. I am not the only one who enjoys eating them either, as my ten month old Patterdale terrier puppy has munched his way through my whole herb garden! The evidence can be seen below… His particular favourites are rosemary and basil.
There was nothing left and so I have had to replant everything, in an area that is now out of his way. Basil is one of the herbs that I constantly use, as I just cannot resist fresh pesto or my ultimate favourite Caprese salad, ‘Salad of Capri.’ Caprese salad is not cooking, but about sourcing great fresh ingredients. It goes without saying that the mozzarella has to be of a great quality and the tomatoes must be just right. I will give you an advanced warning; if you serve me a Caprese salad with stone cold tomatoes from out of the fridge, I will send it back. Tomatoes need to taste like they have been kissed by warm mediterranean sunshine, not have had a trip to Antarctica. Fresh basil leaves are also a must.
As well as loving the taste of basil, the nutritional and health benefits are of great interest to me. For years, friends have been asking me about the benefits of different herbs and spices. Many people dismiss the idea that certain foods can help with ailments but I always say, there is no harm in trying. Take for example cranberries, which many women drink to help with urinary tract infections. It works for many of them, so why should the same not apply to other foods? Will it work overnight? Probably not, but over time and being integrated into your diet, you may just see a change. Please let me know if you have used herbs, spices and foods to help with any ailment you have suffered with, as it is always interesting to hear your views.
Going back to basil, it has many different properties. It has a high level of Vitamin K which is good for blood clotting. It is also thought to help inflammation and swelling, is rich in anti-oxidants and anti aging properties. All this information is not new, for throughout history it has been used to assist with a number of disorders such as :-
- Skin Pimples
- Respiratory disorders
- Gastric disorders
There is even a suggestion that it could be used to help treat tuberculosis amongst many other things. I will not bore you with the exact science behind it all, as the way that basil is used to help with such ailments differs. Some use different species of basil; others require the oil or digestion of it.
Put simply, basil is a great addition to our diets and can be grown simply on a kitchen window. If you are suffering from any of the above medical conditions, then I must add the caveat to keep with your GP or doctor’s advice; but I would also explore the possibilities of self-help by improving or altering your diet. Many doctors have been baffled as to how I have managed to make certain medical problems of my own better, refusing to believe that a changed diet or lifestyle played a part. That is such a shame as the only one who seems to benefiting at the moment is the pharmaceutical companies, and not patients.