Basil Fresh (100g)
Many varieties of basil, with differing leaves and intensity of flavour, are available. These include sweet basil, the most commonly found; dark opal, a dark purple leafed basil; lettuce leaf basil, which has very large green leaves; and fino verde, which is green with very small leaves.
Basil has a sweet, strong spicy flavour and can be added to salads and savoury dishes. It goes particularly well with tomatoes and is the key ingredient of pesto. Basil is best used either raw or added at the end of cooking. It has many medicinal uses and is also known to deter flies.
Refrigerate in their original packaging or paper bags in the crisper. Make sure leaves are not squashed. Alternatively, if the herbs still have their roots attached, place the roots in a jar of water and leave in a cool place, but do not refrigerate.
How to prepare
Remove any coarse or wilted leaves. Soaking the leaves in warm water for 3-4 minutes followed by refrigeration for 15-20 minutes can refresh the leaves.
Fresh herbs contain beta-carotene, vitamin C and some minerals such as iron, calcium and zinc. An example is parsley, which is rich in nutrients such as vitamin A (from selected carotenoids) and C, potassium, folate, iron and calcium. Herbs have been shown to contain high levels of phytonutrients including carotenoids and phenolic compounds. Seasoning meals/dishes with a generous amount of herbs to enhance flavour and increase the consumption of healthy foods is a useful way to promote health and reduce reliance on salt.