In My Garden…Sweet Basil

In My Garden…Basil

BASIL

So I know I have been quiet for a while, but now I am back on track! This week we’re talking about Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum). I love using this in pastas, and of course you will know it’s the main ingredient in pesto. You can add lots of flavour to your cooking by using the fresh leaves.

Basil…

…blends well with Bergamot, Clary Sage, Geranium, Lavender, Melissa, Neroli and Rosemary

…odour intensity is high

…part of the plant which is used are the flowering tops and the leaves.

…extracted by means of steam distillation

 

–          Basil can be used as a general tonic for the nervous system, to calm gastric spasms, for general fatigue after illness and anxiety.

–          To repel mosquitoes, rub crushed leaves on the exposed areas of your skin.

 

Pesto recipe:

BASILR

Method:

1. Place the pine nuts into a non-stick pan and dry fry until lightly toasted. If you’re in a pinch for pine nuts, sunflower seeds can be your hero here.

2. Remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes to cool. Place the pine nuts, basil, garlic and parmesan in the bowl of a food processor and blend until finely chopped. You can also add your chilli here if you choose. With the processor still running, gradually add the oil in a thin steady stream until well combined.

3. Season with salt and pepper.

Basil pesto can be kept frozen for up to 4 months. Transfer half the pesto to a small airtight container and smooth the surface. Drizzle with olive oil to cover. Label, date and freeze. When you’re ready to welcome it back into your life, place in the fridge for 3-4 hours or until thawed. Don’t forget to stir it up before serving.

Sources:

‘A Guide to Green Housekeeping” by Christina Strutt

‘Secrets of youth & beauty’ by Daniéle Rymans

‘The Complete Aromatherapy Tutor’ by Joanne Hoare

Recipe: http://www.yuppiechef.co.za/spatula/basil-pesto/

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Bananas – the new SUPER fruit!

Bananas are one of my favourite fruits, and here’s why:

  • They’re less messy to eat (have you tried eating oranges or litchis in public before?)
  • They are perfect for an on-the-go fruit
  • If you forgot about them and they turn black, you can make banana bread out of them!
  • The peels are a great garden fertilizer
  • They have a wealth of health benefits:

A banana a day, keeps the doctor away!

They are a great source of energy

Bananas have lots of vitamins and minerals, and eating only two bananas will supply you with enough energy to exercise for almost two hours! This also makes them the perfect ‘pick-me-up’ for that sluggish feeling you get in the afternoon. I would say that they are better than drinking a cup of coffee, but being the coffee-love that I am, I won’t go there! (We will keep that fact hush-hush)

They are a source of potassium

Potassium is good for a lot of things. It helps with your body’s circulatory system, and maintains regular heartbeat and blood pressure.It also ensures proper growth of muscle tissues and proper utilization of energy released during metabolism to add significant worth to muscular strength. The muscles, together with cardiac muscle, are prone to paralysis due to deficiency of potassium in diet.

Bone Health
Along with lowering blood pressure, potassium prevents the weakening of the body’s bones. A high sodium intake, which is typical of our current diet, can cause excessive amount of calcium to be lost through the urine, which threatens not only the strength and general health of the bones, but also negatively affects blood clotting, proper muscle contraction, and normal nervous system function. The potassium found in bananas neutralizes the high amounts of sodium in one’s diet, thus allowing for healthy amounts of calcium to remain within the body.

Good for bowel health

Bananas can help stop constipation. Apparently they have a certain type of fibre which helps maintain bowel functions. The good thing is, it won’t cause diarrhoea if you eat too much!

They are useful during “that time”

Try eating bananas to reduce pain. They also have high levels of vitamin B6 to help regulate blood glucose levels. (It might be good to add, that bananas have a certain chemical that makes you feel happy, so it will be useful during this time!)

Bananas are one of the fruits that do not absorb chemicals easily (unlike apples), so if you can’t afford to buy organic, you can have peace at mind with a banana from your local supermarket!

Sources: www.naturalnews.com ; www.lifescript.com; www.organicfacts.com;

Here is my own recipe from a great energizing snack!

Mix together: one mashed banana, ¾ cup plain (or Greek) yoghurt, a pinch of cinnamon, and a teaspoon of honey.

It is absolutely delicious! And it’s sweet enough, so you won’t feel like you’re depriving yourself!

What are your favourite fruits and why?