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Market Haul

Market Haul: Basil

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Basil is perfect for adding flavor to dishes from pad Thai to pizza.

One herb that I almost always have on hand is basil. This fragrant, versatile green plant is perfect for adding a punch of flavor to a wide variety of dishes, from pad Thai to pizza. Plus, it’s a great source of magnesium, vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids.

How to choose it

Look for basil that has vibrant green leaves that are free of black spots. If the leaves look wilted or dull, choose another bunch. Make sure the stems aren’t moldy before you put the basil in your shopping basket.

How to use it

Basil is a popular ingredient in Italian dishes, so add some leaves to pasta, sauces and soups for added flavor. Making a batch of pesto is a great way to make sure your leftover basil doesn’t go to waste. You can also go the sweet route and add basil to baked goods, like these lemon-lime basil cookies. Or, toss a few leaves in a glass of lemonade for a refreshing summer treat.

How to store it

You can store basil in the fridge, but it keeps best at room temperature. Trim the stems and place the bunch in a glass of water out of direct sunlight. Cover the leaves loosely with plastic wrap or a plastic bag. Your haul should last for at least a week.

SOURCES
Real Simple
The Kitchn
World's Healthiest Foods

Do you have any tips for choosing, using or storing basil? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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About the Author
Amy Gordon
Amy Gordon

Amy Gordon is a Wharton graduate who prefers flip flops to business suits. She writes about travel, food, wellness, and social consciousness.

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  • Lynn M. 2 years ago
    Mmmm... Basil is easy to grow and SO aromatic when it is freshly picked. I like cooking with it and also enjoy smelling it in my house. It's sooo good in spaghetti sauce!
  • mary w. 2 years ago
    yum
  • Elizah L. 3 years ago
    One nice *(and kind of unique)* way to use basil: place one raw shrimp on a large basil leaf, top with a sundried tomato and a small piece of bacon, wrap the whole parcel tightly and then skewer it with a toothpick. Repeat the process until you have a bunch of shrimp "packets". Place all of them on a cookie sheet and bake until the shrimp is white/opaque.
  • Julia F. 3 years ago
    I keep a large pot of basil just outside my back door - not far from the kitchen! So much easier and cheaper than buying it at the store. Love it in many things, including pesto. I use half basil, half kale and whip up a big jar which keeps well in the fridge or freezer.
  • M H. 3 years ago
    I have 2 different kinds of basil in my backyard and I always put them in the freezer for out of the season.
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