Basil

Basil and I have a love/hate relationship... I love all the benefits of basil + it hates to grow in my herb garden.  

Not really.  

I just struggle with growing parsley and basil... which folks tell me are the two simplest herbs to grow.  My issue is the herbs do amazing then we get 3-4 days of torrential downpours of rain and when I go to check on them once the sun comes up... they have given up on life.   { sad face }  

So.  In order to solve this problem... I have repotted my plants (aka. purchased new ones) and moved them indoors near our sliding glass doors so they can get optimal sun but protected from the heavy rains!  

Now my biggest concern is keeping those tiny 4yr old hands off my plants!!!  Ah well... 

Let's dive deep into BASIL to find out all it's goodness + ways you can start using it... in your kitchen as well as in your beauty regimen!  

 Love me some pesto... 

Love me some pesto... 

How to select the right basil? 

Opt for organic, fresh leaves!  I bet you saw that coming, didn't you?  But also try to choose leaves that are vibrant in color and are void of any spots!  

How to store basil? 

Once you pick the basil (or purchase from a store), you can either... 

  • rinse + dry off then wrap in a damp towel in the fridge for a few days 
  • rinse + dry off, chop up, place in airtight container + freeze for a few months
  • rinse + dry off and dry 'em out... I use a dehydrator because of simplicity.  then chop up into bits, place in a small mason jar and use for the next few days-weeks.  

What's the goodness in basil? 

Basil is rich in vitamin K and manganese! 

What are some of the health benefits of basil?  

I will admit... while researching this little herb, I was AMAZED by all the health benefits it provides!  Seriously, who knew it packed a powerful punch.  You did, didn't you, love?  Check it out:  

  • combats inflammation 
  • acts as an adaptogen...  which means it helps your body adapt to stress
  • contains antioxidants
  • holds antibacterial properties
  • fights depression
  • helps in blood clotting

and there's a wee bit more, you can check out some additional benefits here! 

What about basil essential oil? 

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Never knew about basil essential oil, truthfully... but a dear friend of mine is fascinated with essential oils + shares with me a lot of her secrets and the hubster purchased me some books so I can research on my own!  

I am stumbling on the journey to using more essential oils... aka. reading + learning as I go, but by no means, an expert.  

Here's some cool factoids about basil essential oil!  I read these in the book: Essential Oils, All-Natural Remedies and recipes for your mind, body and home.  (You may have an essential oil book you prefer... the hubster bought me this one :) ) 

  • the oil should be DILUTED extremely well and not to be used for prolonged periods of time!  I also read you should avoid if pregnant or breast-feeding!!! YIKES!!! 
  • repels insects and relieves irritation from bug bites
  • helps control acne 
  • helps clear sinuses
  • eases aches and pains 
  • may help relieve indigestion
  • can be used in a diffuser to refresh your mind

There's a lot more the book shares but thought I would just give you a snippet! 

How can you use basil in your beauty routine? 

There are amazing DIY facial masks out there using basil leaves... some with honey... some with cucumbers... others with fresh berries!  But one trick I thought I'd share with you is how to use basil leaves to rid blackheads.  

Yep.  You read that right... blackheads! 

Simply wet the basil leaves and place on areas where there are blackheads... for me this is my chin (because I rest my hands on my chin ALL the time when I am reading!).  Keep the wet leaves on the area for roughly 5 minutes then remove.  

VOILA! 

What's your favorite recipe to use with basil?  

When you think of basil... you most likely think of two things:  pesto and caprese salads. Am I right?  

Well.  I do love a good basil pesto (esp mixed with roasted almonds or macadamia nuts) and we don't typically eat caprese salads here... mainly because the typical caprese includes: tomatoes, basil and mozzarella!  

 Image collected from MBG Blog via author:  Jessica Lauren DeBry

Image collected from MBG Blog via author:  Jessica Lauren DeBry

However, I stumbled upon this delicious alternate (and yep, dairy-free) caprese concoction... instead of mozzarella, the recipe calls for avocado!  Yep,  take a peek at this creamy and delicious tomato/avocado caprese recipe.  Super simple!  

Another recipe, we simply ADORE in our household... is a blueberry basil smoothie!  This recipe was shared with me in our virtual 4S VIP GROUP.  And with basil now growing in our house, we jumped on the chance to try it out!  

Check it out this goodness in a glass: 

basil blueberry smoothie

GROCERIES: 

  • 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries (organic if possible)
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of almond/coconut milk, unsweetened
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (we opt for Shakeology)
  • 1/2 cup of spinach (wash + dry)
  • 1/2 cup of ice

Now What?

  • Blend the milk, water and greens thoroughly!
  • Add the fruit... and blend again. 
  • Finally, add the protein powder and ice... and blend for the third time. 
  • Place in a fancy glass :) and enjoy! 

hope you enjoyed some little tid bits about basil... and welcome it to your weekly menu!  

as always.  do your research + learn what works (or what doesn't work) for you!  because the "more you know, the more you grow." 

love + gumption.

a.