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The 52 New Foods Challenge – Basil

basil in bowl 1000pxWhile working at the Campbell Farmer’s Market, basil was always a top seller for Tomatero. Tomatoes, strawberries, and basil always brought folks to the booth. In fact, one of my coworkers would often wave some basil through the air to release the scent to help lure them in like Yogi Bear. I love basil. I like making traditional caprese salads, basil pesto, and my awesome sister-in-law Amy, makes a watermelon caprese salad (watermelon subs nicely for tomatoes for those avoiding nightshades). Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests trying a nut free pesto – using sunflower seeds or adding fresh peaches and basil to ice cream! YUMMMY! What’s your favorite use for basil?

Food Facts:

  • Sweet basil is the variety that we typically eat, however Holy basil or tulsi is a variety that is coveted for its medicinal purposes and is native to India.
  • Excellent source of vitamins A, K, and C and maganese.
  • It is rich in antioxidants, especially carotenoids.
  • Basil’s essential oils are antifungal and antimicrobial and have been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi.
  • It is also an anti-inflammatory and can be used to support conditions where inflammation is a factor.
  • Basil should be stored with stems in a glass of water on the counter. Putting basil in the fridge turns it black.
  • There are more than 60 varieties of basil.
  • It belongs to the mint family.
  • Some of the major medicinal uses include: digestive support, a mild sedative, headache relief, kidney support, poor circulation, and intestinal spasms.

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet by Tonia Reinhard.

Aug. 2014 Book of the Month – Eating on the Wild Side

The Clean Eating August 2014 Book of the Month is Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson. I give this book FIVE strawberries- an absolutely fascinating book.Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 5.28.40 PM

Robinson examines the varieties of foods to determine which foods and which varieties are the healthiest. She also looks at the healthiest methods for preparation and when certain food need to be prepared in order to obtain the most nutrients.

When I first worked at the farmer’s market for Tomatero Organic Farms I remember learning about the three varieties of strawberries that we sold, Albion, Seascape, and Chandler. Each day customers would come up and ask about the berries and be shocked to learn that there was more than one type of strawberry. I would always explain that just like apples, all produce has multiple varieties. However, when we shop at the grocery store they generally only have one type of variety. The varieties that are chosen for grocery stores are varieties that ship and travel well, last a fairly long time, and that look appealing to customers. You might think that all produce should look appealing, and I agree, but let me give you one example. The Rosas variety of strawberry (another variety that Tomatero has sold over the years) is a pink berry. Most customers think it is underripe because it is pink, but that isn’t the case, that is just the characteristics of that variety type. That is just one example of how certain produce doesn’t fit our “standards” of looking appealing. [These are my very favorite Strawberry variety, by the way. If you find them, I highly recommend that you try them.]

In Eating on the Wild Side, You’ll learn that sweet potatoes aren’t in the potato (nightshade) family but in the morning glory family, that drinking a glass of beet juice FullSizeRenderbefore a run will help you run longer (due to the naturally occurring nitrates), that the outer leaves on lettuces are the most healthy because they make the most chlorophyll, and that broccoli loses most of it’s phytonutrients within 24-hours of harvest – so grow your own or shop at the farmer’s market and look for it on ice.

There’s about million more gems like these in the book, so take a look for yourself and learn how to eat on the wild side.

Hugs & Health <3,

Katie