16 Jul 2013

Basil: Herbs We Love For Summer

Culinary herbs are so often overlooked as medicine. But great power lies in our humble spice jars and kitchen windowsill plants, including basil!

benefits of basil

Loaded with carotenoids as well as vitamins K and C, basil is also antibacterial. It’s used to ease nausea and cramping, and for irritability, depression, anxiety, and sleeping problems. Externally, basil repels insects and soothes insect bites.

I recently picked up a huge bunch of basil at Hutchins Farm in Concord for my next batch of pesto. As a summer herb, basil’s culinary reputation is renowned, especially in partnership with tomatoes. However, there is another fruit that may give tomato some competition for basil’s affections: the blackberry. Yes, it’s a legit and uniquely refreshing combination (blackberry basil pie, anyone?). 

blackberry smoothie

It being 90 degrees and all, I decided to test out the combo in a nice, cold smoothie. I used fresh blackberries that I froze overnight, cold water, farm-fresh basil leaves, and a frozen banana. A dash of vanilla ties it all together (optional).

basil and blackberry smoothie

Blackberry Basil Bliss 

1 to 1.5 cups frozen blackberries
5 large fresh basil leaves or 10 small-medium (or to taste)
Frozen banana
1 cup cold water
Dash of vanilla

Combine and blend on high.

What other unexpected or unique ways have you used basil?

basil smoothie