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The basics of basil

MERIL ANTONY ARICATT
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RECIPE A refreshing drink made with crushed watermelon and a dash of basil

RICH IN VITAMINS AND MINERALSBasil
RICH IN VITAMINS AND MINERALSBasil

Basil is a common name for the culinary herb Ocimum basilicum . Basil is an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium and dietary fibre.

The round, often pointed leaves of the basil plant look a lot like peppermint to which it is related.

Its fragrant leaves are used as a seasoning herb for a variety of preparations, especially as the main ingredient in pesto, the mixture of basil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese.

The eugenol component of basil’s volatile oils has been the subject of extensive study, since this substance can block the activity of an enzyme in the body called cyclooxygenase (COX).

This enzyme-inhibiting effect of eugenol gives basil its ‘anti-inflammatory’ properties, which provide important healing benefits, along with symptomatic relief for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel conditions.

Some simple ways of using basil leaves in day-to-day life:

• Purée basil, olive oil and onions in a food processor or blender and add to tomato soups.

•Enjoy a warm cup of invigorating basil tea by infusing chopped basil leaves in boiling water for eight minutes.

Now, for a recipe:

Watermelon and Basil Pitcher

Ingredients

Chunks of watermelon

without seeds: 1 cup / glass

Basil: 10 fresh leaves

Lime juice: 2 tsp

Crushed ice: 4 tsp

Sugar: 2 tsp

Method:

Crush the watermelon cubes in a home blender roughly.

Crumple the basil a little in your hands (this will help the basil flavour to be released into the drink) and add it to the pitcher glass.

Add lime juice, sugar and crushed ice and pour it into the pitcher. Keep it covered in the fridge overnight, or for at least for four hours. Serve chilled with a basil tender leaf as garnish.

MERIL ANTONY ARICATT

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