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Spice Descriptions and Uses

Basil - ocimum basilicum

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The ancient Greeks called Basil the "herb of kings". It is also called Sweet Basil since it imparts a certain sweetness when used in food. It is staple of much Italian cooking. Basil is a good companion with many foods which makes it an important herb to keep on hand. It is a favourite in tomato recipes.

How to Use:

Basil is a great companion herb with parsley, rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme and saffron. It is a staple ingredient in spaghetti sauce and on pizza. Basil is popular with fish, mushroom dishes, soups, stews, meat loaf, lobster, shrimp, veal, lamb, salad dressings, eggplant, potatoes, carrots, spinach, peas, chicken, egg and rice dishes. Basil is also a good garnish added to the top of your soup or sprinkled on top of your favourite tomato sauce.

Measuring:

Soup:

Vegetables:

Cauliflower:

Pork chops:

Fish or chicken:

Eggs:

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon in 3 cups of tomato or vegetable soup

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon in 2 cups

1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon per head

1/2 to 1 teaspoon per pound

1/4 teaspoon in 3 tablespoons butter for basting a pound

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon to three eggs (scrambled or for egg salad)

Other Info:

Ocimum basilicum Linn.

Family : Labiatae

Other names: Sweet basil; St.Joseph wort

Description

The common sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum), with its several types and varieties ,is an annual aromatic plant , widely grown because of its pleasant spicy odor and taste. This leafy herb of the mint family is grown primarily in Egypt and USA. Both the leaves and the essential oils distilled from the flowering plants are used as flavouring agents. It is one of the ancient spices and remnants of it were found in Egyptian burial chambers.

Botany

Basil is a bushy (of 60cm height) aromatic annual with brittle branched stems. There are large and dwarf types with oval, shiny, fleshy and fragile, dark green, or purple, variegated leaves, some of which are ornamentals. The fresh leaves are about 5cm long and 2cm wide. Creamy white flowers are in whorls.

Cultivation

The seeds should be planted early in spring in rich, moist soil in rows 90cm apart at the rate of 12 to 15 for every 30 cm and covered with soil. Germination requires 5 to 7 days, and thinning the plants is not necessary. Growth is rapid, and no special care other than the usual cultivation practices are required. Flowering shoots are pinched out to extend useful life of plants.

When the plants begin to flower they should be cut 15 to 20 cm above the ground to provide herbs for drying. Several cuttings may be made during the season. The green tender leaves may be used fresh at any time. The herb can be tied in small bundles and hung in a well-ventilated dark room or spread thinly on a screen to dry. After thorough drying, the leaves and flowering tops may be stripped from the stems and packed in closed containers.

Basil contains a very low percent (0.1 - 1.0 %) of essential or volatile oil. An oleoresin containing 2 - 5 % volatile oil is available, as well as an essential oil. The principal components of the volatile oil are methyl chavicol (estragole), linalool and cineol. Basil is one of the spices which does have definite quality differences

from one origin to another.

Culinary, medicinal and other use

The leaves, fresh or dry, may be used to improve the flavour of tomato dishes, cucumbers, green salads, eggs, ricotta cheese mixes and shrimp. It is a popular culinary flavouring, typical of Mediterranean cuisines. Oil of basil is used in perfumery, soaps, cosmetics and liqueurs. It is a good insect repellant. Medicinally it is used to sooth pain and treat vomiting , nervous stress and headaches.

Indian Institute of Spices Research, India

Other Basils

  Basil ocimum sanctum

Description: A fragrant bushy perennial growing to 18" tall with profusions of white blooms and slightly purple tinted foliage. This herb is held sacred by the Hindus and is often planted around temples, also used in rosaries. The leaves are delicious in salads and used to flavor many foods. Spicy clove fragrance. It is said that eating Holy basil along with other foods will relieve stomach problems including cramps and digestive disorders.

Basil - Genovese: Fragrant, spicy leaves

Basil Cinnamon: Distinctive cinnamon coloured stems, purple flowers and dark green leaves, plus a slight cinnamon taste and odour. Highly ornamental.

Basil Lemon: A particularly good basil with a lovely lemon fragrance. Used in Indonesian cuisine, and to flavour fish and meat. Makes a delicious tea.

Basil Lime: Basils are a favourite with cooks and gardeners world- wide. Now you can try a completely new and exclusive basil with a striking twist of lime. The development of this unique flavour adds interest to desserts as well as savoury dishes.

Basil Purple Ruffles: Very large dark shiny purple-black, ruffled and fringed leaves. Ideal contrast in bedding or containers or use it as a herb in cooking.

Basil Siam Queen: A very fragrant selection and distinct improvement over other Thai Basils. Extra large leaf size and large plants mean more of that intense liquorice fragrance. The bright green leaves make an attractive foil for the purple-red stems which bear violet-pink flowers. Superb as a container plant on the patio where you can smell its aroma. Excellent for bedding edging and the vegetable or flower garden. Height 76-10Ocm (30-40in).

Basil Sweet Green: Tasting like a mixture of mint and cloves it compliments courgettes and is legendary in tomato and pasta dishes. Use fresh or dry in salads, casseroles, vinegars. Insect repellant and companion plant for tomatoes. Companion Plant: Reputed to improve the growth and flavour of tomatoes, and keep most insects and bugs off most of your vegetables. Diluted crushed leaves make an effective organic insecticide.
   
  Photos Source Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd

basil, ground Nutrient

Units

1 tsp

-------

1.40 g

Proximates

. .

Water

g

0.090

Energy

kcal

3.514

Energy

kj

14.714

Protein

g

0.201

Total lipid (fat)

g

0.056

Carbohydrate, by difference

g

0.853

Fiber, total dietary

g

0.567

Ash

g

0.200

Minerals

. .

Calcium, Ca

mg

29.582

Iron, Fe

mg

0.588

Magnesium, Mg

mg

5.908

Phosphorus, P

mg

6.860

Potassium, K

mg

48.062

Sodium, Na

mg

0.476

Zinc, Zn

mg

0.081

Copper, Cu

mg

0.019

Manganese, Mn

mg

0.044

Selenium, Se

mcg

0.039

Vitamins

. .

Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid

mg

0.857

Thiamin

mg

0.002

Riboflavin

mg

0.004

Niacin

mg

0.097

Vitamin B-6

mg

0.017

Folate, total

mcg

3.836

Vitamin B-12

mcg

0.000

Vitamin A, IU

IU

131.250

Vitamin A, RE

mcg_RE

13.132

Vitamin E

mg_ATE

0.024

Lipids

. .

Fatty acids, total saturated

g

0.003

4:0

g

0.000

6:0

g

0.000

8:0

g

0.000

10:0

g

0.000

12:0

g

0.000

14:0

g

0.000

16:0

g

0.003

18:0

g

0.000

Fatty acids, total monounsaturated

g

0.006

16:1 undifferentiated

g

0.000

18:1 undifferentiated

g

0.006

20:1

g

0.000

22:1 undifferentiated

g

0.000

Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated

g

0.030

18:2 undifferentiated

g

0.009

18:3 undifferentiated

g

0.021

18:4

g

0.000

20:4 undifferentiated

g

0.000

20:5 n-3

g

0.000

22:5 n-3

g

0.000

22:6 n-3

g

0.000

Cholesterol

mg

0.000

Phytosterols

mg

1.484

Amino acids

. .

Tryptophan

g

0.003

Threonine

g

0.008

Isoleucine

g

0.008

Leucine

g

0.015

Lysine

g

0.009

Methionine

g

0.003

Cystine

g

0.002

Phenylalanine

g

0.010

Tyrosine

g

0.006

Valine

g

0.010

Arginine

g

0.009

Histidine

g

0.004

Alanine

g

0.010

Aspartic acid

g

0.024

Glutamic acid

g

0.022

Glycine

g

0.010

Proline

g

0.008

Serine

g

0.008