Basil

Ingredients

  • Organic Sweet Basil

Origin​

  • Egypt

Form

  • Cut and sifted

Certification

  • Organic, Kosher

Typical Use

  • All Year

Background

  • Basil is widely considered to originate from the Mediterranean room but its exact origin is fuzzy, largely due to its use for several thousand years.


Basil has also over 50 different varieties, with the most common ones used for cooking being sweet basil and Thai basil. There are additional varietals with different flavor notes such as cinnamon, anise, lemon or with distinctive looking plants shapes/colors, such as purple basil, blue basil, etc. 


A very important close species is Holy basil which is important in religions, such as Christianity and Hinduism. In ancient Egypt, basil was likely used as an embalming and preserving herb as it has been found in tombs and mummies.

Cooking

  • Basil is used in many different dishes. Of course, Pesto equals Basil and there is no substitute. However, basil can be used with almost any Mediterranean dish and should be added at the end of cooking to preserve its fragile flavor. Our organic Basil is sweet basil and has been cultivated in Egypt.

Cultural​

  • Considering our sweet basil which is largely used in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, we will focus on Italy and the importance of Basil for Italian culture. Basil is one of the four main "Italian" herbs (basil, garlic, oregano, and rosemary). Basil is so ingrained in Italian cooking that many assume it originated in Italy.

 
Pesto (basil, garlic, pine nuts) with its seeming simplicity originated in Genova and has become standard fare in Italian restaurants around the globe. While Pesto has only very few ingredients, its execution relies on great ingredients and skill. A great pesto sauce is a sophisticated composition of different flavors all composed out of four main ingredients (kinda like beer.....). 

 

If you want to understand the history and the importance of pesto for the Ligurian coast around Genova, read this - https://www.saveur.com/pesto-italian-origins-history#page-8

​Spiritual

  • Basil has been adopted by several religions and can take on different meanings depending on the religion and time in history. Across Christianity, basil is considered an herb that can help with the transition to the afterlife or can strengthen the belief during church services (for example, some Orthodox Churches use basil to prepare or distribute holy water). However, at other times, it has been considered a symbol of Satan, defend against dragons (namely the rather innocent but dragon-look-alike basilisk).
     

The varietal, holy basil, has a high ranking in Hinduism and is also important for the Ayurveda system. 
 

Given the strong flavor and versatility of Basil and its wide distribution for thousands of years,, it is no wonder that it has ascended into the realms of spirituality across Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Medicinal​

  • Basil contains many different chemical compounds which may kill bacteria and fungi. Eating basil may have help with stomach and GI problems such as spasms, loss of appetite, intestinal gas, diarrhea, and constipation. Basil may even help with head colds, warts, and worm infections. It is also used to treat snake and insect bites. But there is limited scientific research to support these and other medicinal uses of basil. But since it tastes good, why not believe that we derive medicinal benefits from it.

Recipes

 

 

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Santa Cruz, CA, United States

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