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Monday, February 3, 2014

Basil Facts and Folklore

The forecast this morning is telling us we're expecting snow, but we're watching for green to come up in the pots we've planted inside!  It's too early to start our garden seeds in our area, but we've started some herbs for potted plants. The first thing we planted was Basil, which is one of my favorite herbs, so I thought we'd talk about that a little today.

Basil does great as a potted plant, though you can put it outdoors also as long as you are at least zone 6. It will  adapt to most soils , but prefers a rich, moist soil. It will do best in full sun and likes the heat. It will grown up to 2 feet tall and about 18 inches in width, but if you're using the leaves you'll prune it long before it ever gets that big! And I really think you'll want to use those leaves. (Although if you don't, plant Basil anyway just for the amazing scent!) You can use them fresh, chop and freeze them, dry them, or make pesto. You can also keep leaves in a glass jar covered in olive oil and refrigerated. If you do dry your Basil, keep in mind it will lose some color and flavor over time. The dried version will keep best sealed in a  glass container and kept in a cool dark place for no more than six months. Basil will flower in mid summer, but prune away the flowers to maintain the best flavor in the leaves. If you are doing some companion planting, Basil is best planted near tomatoes and peppers and should be planted away from other members of the Mint family. There are many different kinds of Basil you can try. Besides Sweet Basil, Lemon, and Cinnamon Basil are two others I like

Because it's part of the mint family, it has many of the same medicinal properties as other other members of that family, such as a being used as a digestive aid and headache remedy. 
(I feel like I should put a disclaimer here. I'm not a doctor. If you have health issues, don't just eat your Basil plant. Talk to your doctor.) ;)

I always think it's interesting to read background and folklore about plants, so in case you do too, here's a little extra fun stuff about Basil:

There is some question as to where the name came from. It may have come from the Greek work basilikon or basileus meaning "royal" or "king", and showing the culture's great respect for the plant. Or, the name might have come  basilick, which is a legendary reptile who could kill you with a glance or breath! Personally, I'm going with the first one! 

Basil is a symbol of love in Italy and according to tradition, if a woman puts a pot of Basil on the balcony outside her bedroom, it means she is ready to receive her suitor. Once, many years ago, I had a pot of Basil on my balcony of my bedroom in my apartment in the city. If it attracted the "suitor" I had at that point in my life, then ..well...I recommend just keeping it in the kitchen window!

Romany gypsies had a "spell" using Basil as well. It was said that if you place a glass of water in the moonlight, sprinkle in a little basil, a pinch of Fennel seed, Nutmeg, Ginger, and Thyme, leave it to steep overnight, strain it into a clear glass jar, and then dab it on the clothing 
of the man or woman you love, they will be bewitched. (Another disclaimer, if you throw a glass of Basil-y water on someone, don't blame me if they are...less than bewitched.)

So now, I'm obsessively checking for any little green sprouts....

Nothing yet!

What's your favorite herb?

This post was shared over at:
http://beingfrugalbychoice.blogspot.com/
http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/
http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/
http://serendipityandspice.com/
http://www.tillysnest.com/
http://www.backyardfarmingconnection.com/
http://memoriesbythemile.com/
http://www.kathewithane.com/
http://mamaldiane.com/
http://www.handymancraftywoman.com/
http://weliketolearnaswego.blogspot.com/
http://thissillygirlslife.com/
http://thebrambleberrycottage.blogspot.com/
http://homegrownonthehill.blogspot.com/
http://homesteadlady.com/
http://katherinescorner.com/
http://www.nancherrow.com/
http://www.thejennyevolution.com/
http://www.myturnforus.com/

12 comments:

  1. Very interesting! I admit, cilantro is actually my favorite, if I had to choose. But who can resist basil? :)

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    1. Hi Andrea! I like cilantro too, I haven't planted it for a few years because no one else in my house likes it though! Thank you for visiting!

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    2. Funny thing is, the others in my house used to think it tasted soapy and turned their noses up. However, I found a salsa recipe that uses LOADS of it, and the fam loved the salsa. I think they got used to the cilantro taste, because now I use it a lot and they don't even realize. :)

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    3. That is too funny! I've now decided I'm going to plant some and try sneaking it into some salsa! Worst that can happen is I'll have the salsa all to myself! ;)

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  2. Basil is my favorite followed closely by oregano. Loved your post with all the info and fun facts! :)

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    1. Hi Candy! Thanks for the nice comment! I like oregano too, it's also pretty easy to grow which is a big plus for me! :)

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  3. Basil is a regular in my garden. This summer I will plant a couple varieties. But I am also quite fond of thyme and calendula (yes, this cheerful yellow flower is included in lists of herbs).

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    1. I like thyme as well, I've never planted calendula, I will have to do some reading about that one, I always like to hear about something new! Thank you for visiting!

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  4. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick
    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

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  5. Interesting post, some things I never knew about basil. Love the idea of putting it in olive oil in the fridge, followed you here form the HomeAcre Hop.

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    1. Hi Joyce! I'm glad you liked the post! I like to do the olive oil way of keeping it, nice and simple! Have a wonderful weekend!

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  6. I grow our basil in our garden. We are fortunate it grows beautifully here in Utah. Thank you for helping to make the Thursday Favorite Things Blog hop so much fun. Big Hugs ♥

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