Mediterranean staple: Basil
Three things you may not know about basil
- It's a member of the mint family, and usually tastes slightly of mint and cloves.
- There are more than 60 varieties of basil available from seed companies and specialty stores, including lemon basil and cinnamon basil.
- Long-ago legends say that a gentleman who presents his intended with a sprig of basil will have her devotion forever.
Two new ways to try basil
- Make red pesto by adding sun-dried tomatoes and purple basil to cheese, pine nuts and olive oil, and use as a spread on crostini or pizza.
- Try it in basil ice cream as a pure summertime indulgence.
1 tip you can't live without
- Use your hands to shred basil so it retains more of its flavour.
1 thing to remember at the grocery store
- Look for bright, fresh, scented herbs. Pass on those with wilted, marked leaves and stems that seem moldy.
1 essential tool for basil
- A mortar and pestle is a requisite for crushing basil. Look at specialty kitchen stores, such as Word of Mouth in Toronto or Vancouver's Gourmet Warehouse.
1 way to bring italy to your own backyard
- Grow your own basil. Pick leaves before the plants get buds or flowers, and use fresh with Mediterranean staples like tomato salads and pasta.