The tinyFarm Grow Down: Basil

The tinyFarm Grow Down: Basil
Chefs go bonkers for basil! Why? Because it’s that healthy source of flavour we all crave in our dishes. Get the 'grow down' on basil's history, vitamins and minerals, uses and growing tips. 


 

Chefs go bonkers for basil! Why? Because it’s that healthy source of flavour we all crave in our dishes. This green beauty is one of the most easily recognizable and widely used greens on the planet. And a fresh basil plant on the windowsill is the envy of every aspiring culinarian.

Our new ‘Everything You Need to Now…” series will be give you the lowdown on all your favourite greens and herbs. So, read on and become an instant expert on all things basil.


Basil basics

You’ve seen it, and likely tasted it before. It’s one of the world’s most commonly grown and commonly used herbs after all. Basil is member of the mint family and there are many varieties each with their own unique taste and aroma.

  • Sweet Basil.
  • Genovese basil.
  • Thai sweet basil.
  • Purple basil.
  • Lemon basil.
  • Lime basil.
  • Lettuce Basil.

…to name a few


Where does it grow?

Basil is an ancient green that’s been around for over 5,000 years. It’s believed to originate from India or East China, but can now be found literally all over the planet. It’s easy to grow basil in a variety of climates both inside and outside. Take a short walk through your neighbourhood, chances are you’ll find some basil.


Why is it good for you?

Historically basil was thought to be harmful (read full history here), and could even cause scorpions in infest the brain! But today we know basil is an herb chocked full of vitamins and minerals.

A mere 2 Tbsps. serving packs this big nutrient punch

 

Vitamin/Mineral

%DV

A

6%

C

2%

K

27%

Iron

1%

Magnesium

1%

Calcium

1%

 

All with 0%DV carbs and a single calorie. With stats like this you may be tempted to add some fresh chopped basil to everything.


Vitamins in Basil:

Vitamin A: If it’s green, it’s probably got some A. Vitamin A helps with eye and vision development, but also assists in creating strong bones, skin and immune systems.

Vitamin C: A natural antioxidant, also necessary for function and production of blood vessels and connective tissue.

Vitamin K: If you fall and scrape your knee, you’ll need Vitamin K to regulate blood clotting in your body.

Minerals in Basil:

Iron: Your body used iron to transport oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. It’s also the most common mineral deficiency. Over 10% of women in the U.S. could use more iron.

Magnesium: it’s a multi-tasking mineral that helps with nerve, blood, DNA and bone function. It’s a very commonly used off-the-shelf supplement. Generally, teenage girls and men over 70 are deficient in magnesium

Growing Tips:

growing basil

Ideal Method: Start from seed, or plant. Basil does especially well in container gardens.

Ideal Temperature: 50-100 degrees F, best grown outdoors during the Summer.

Water Requirements: Water every other day, daily if it’s especially hot.

Sun Requirements: Basil needs about 6-8 hours of sun per day. If growing indoors make sure it’s near a window.

Soil Requirements: Use well drained soil

Fertilizer Requirements: Apply slow release fertilizer once per month, if growing indoors.

Maintenance: Make sure you regularly prune basil (every 6 inches or so). Pinch off the tops between the forks of 2 leaves, this prevents the plant from going to seed and will make for a fuller bushier plant.

What can you make with it?

Basil is commonly ground up in pesto’s, soups and sauces in Italian cuisine, but it’s biggest strength is its versatility. It’s the perfect garnish. Chicken is instantly better when basil is the seasoning. Lemon Basil and Thai Basil are commonly used in Asian dishes. Adventurous cooks use whole leaves to make basil chocolate and basil scented ice cream! You can even use basil essential oils to treat viruses and infection.


via GIPHY

There you have it! The easiest way to get the bounty of basil is to grow it yourself. Our mission is to make this as easy as possible for you and your family. Sign up below to become a tinyFarmer and learn how growing your own basil, and other greens is a much cheaper, easier, and simpler option for your family.

August 10, 2017

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