Enjoy the Taste and Health Benefits of Organic Basil

organic basilBasil. It’s that palate-pleasing herb that’s probably in a bottle on your spice rack or in a freshly-picked bundle in your refrigerator. It’s been used for thousands of years to season food, treat stomach aches and colds, and even help control blood sugar levels and reduce stress.

And in organic-form, like it’s grown in the greenhouse at Early Morning Harvest, it’s even healthier.

“Basil is healthy for you,” says Kathleen Zelman, a registered nutritionist and spokesperson for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “It has virtually no calories, no fat, and lots of vitamins and minerals.”

Consider organic basil one of the most flavorful and nutrient-packed herbs in your kitchen. After all, the word basil comes from the Greek word basileus, which means KING. But before you whip up organic basil-laced, mouth-watering recipes like Tomato Bruschetta, Artichoke and Spinach Dip, Baked Salmon, or even something as simple as Basil-Seasoned Oven Roasted Potatoes, there’s one thing you should know.

Cooking with Basil
“When you cook with basil, try to put it in at the very end of cooking,” says Zelman. “The actual cooking process will destroy some of the flavor. It’s one of those herbs you toss in at the last minute, as opposed to putting it in the oven with all the other ingredients.”

Storage Tips for Basil
You can pick your own organic basil in the greenhouse at Early Morning Harvest. If you’re planning to cook with it right away, just toss it with the other ingredients in the oven or the pan near the end of cooking. If you want to keep fresh basil around a while, trim the stems, and put them in water. Then cover the container loosely. Many herbs store better in the refrigerator, but basil lasts longer when it’s stored at room temperature.

If you want to make your own dried organic basil, let the leaves air-dry for about two weeks. Then chop or crumble the dried leaves into tiny bits and store zippered-plastic bag or air-tight container.

Head on out to Early Morning Harvest for some organically-grown basil, and you’ll also find leafy greens like spinach, kale, and other herbs fresh and ready to eat.