Herb Profile: Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil is a quintessential ingredient in nearly any Italian dish, but it's also a staple in Veitnamese and Inidan cuisine. There are so many different varieties to choose from, and we grow around 3 of them on our farm:
1. Genovese type. Pictured to the left, these are the classic Italian variety. Best for making pesto or fresh cooking.
Purslane contains the highest non-animal based source of Omega 3 fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic acid. One cup of it contains 400 mg worth! It also contains vitamins C (when eaten fresh), some B vitamins, and many antioxidents. It's cooling and supportive of the bladder, large intestine, and liver.
Purslane needs high levels of moisture to retain its crisp texture, and needs to be used sooner for best results. Store in the fridge with a moist cloth in a waterproof container for 2-3 days.
We prefer purslane raw, partly because it comes during the heat of the season and who wants to eat hot food on a hot day??? But also because we enjoy the succulent texture of the herb, which doesn't stand up to heat. The steams can also get a little more chewy if you cook it too hard.
Simply chop up the plant whole, minus the roots. The stems are just as tender and juicy as the leaf! Works great in salads, smoothies, or on sandwiches.
The Gift of Healing Herbs by Robin Rose Bennett
The Rodale Encyclopida of Herbs
Asparagus to Zucchini by Fairshare Coalition
Produce: A fruit and vegetable lover's guide by Bruce Beck
Our own experience!