The scent of fresh basil. I think everybody knows what I am talking about. You walk somewhere and you smell fresh basil. It immediately takes you to the Mediterranean; a plate of homemade pasta, a nice moment in the sun with freshly baked bread and homemade pesto and a goof glass of wine, a chocolate dessert decorated with fresh basil, a beautiful tomato soup with one basil leaf on top. There are so many recipes to think off when you smell this beautiful herb.

How do we know this plant?

In supermarktets you’ll mostly find the Green Basil. But there are also the Red Basil, the Lemon Basil, the Thai Basil and the Greek Basil.
The Red Basil is purple and has a very strong but still fresh taste. It can be used in salads, marmelades, sauces and even tea with a fruity taste.
The Thai Basil taste more like anis and dragon while the Greek Basil is the most common basil and taste the most like basil as we know it.

Why is it healthy?

In more traditional ways basil is used as a medicine for the treatment arthritis, bronchitis, a cold, fever, stomach ulcers, rheumatism, ear infection, epilepsy, heart diseases, malaria, snake bites, stomach ache and nausea. Sometimes they even used it to prevent hair loss.
Recently there have been many studies about the essential oils in basil. It is said that this plant contains a lot of antioxidant, antiviral and antimicrobial components. In India it is used for stress, asthma, diabetes and they make basil tea to recover from a cold and nausea.
The little green plant contains many vitamine A, vitamine K, potassium, kalium, manganese, copper, iron and magnesium.

For BitterSweetz I buy 6 plants weekly for our homemade pesto. Pesto made of fresh basil leaves, green olives and olive oil. Last week we had Italian guests and they asked me about our pesto. So I explained them how it is made at BitterSweetz and both said to me at the same time: What? You use olives? And looked at each other in amazement. Apparently there are no olives in Italian pesto and thought it was strange that I do use them. I explained them that I make this pesto so everybody can eat it; there are no nuts, pine nuts, cheese or what so ever in the pesto but olive oil, olives and fresh basil. They ordered their sandwiches and to be honest, it was not the traditional version but they loved our pesto! And that is why we make what we make and that’s why our name is BitterSweetz, net iets anders (slightly different). (Have you ever seen this on our window by the way?)

Our homemade pesto is served with the mozzarella sandwiches and the carpaccio sandwiches. Two delicious and popular sandwiches. you think it is because of our pesto?

At last but not least

Basil has an insect repellent effect!

Just rub the basil leaves over your body so there is a thin layer of oil on your skin that will protect you from mosquito bites. The insects will keep their distance. If one bites you anyway because you forgot to use protection, pick a fresh basil leave and put it on the spot. It will ease the itching. If you don’t have a plant at hand, just order a dish that contains or is served with fresh basil 😉