Market Watch: The Basics of Basil

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518412312

Photo by: EvgeniySmolskiy ©EvgeniySmolskiy

EvgeniySmolskiy, EvgeniySmolskiy

Fresh herbs are flourishing at the local markets. Head out and grab some basil to make these exciting and unexpected recipes.

Basil Facts

Basil is rich in nutrients like vitamins A and C, plus it contains phytochemicals — good-for-you plant-based compounds. Since you probably don’t eat cups of herbs at a time, using small amounts daily in a wide range of recipes allows for the nutrients to stack up.

Basil options are more diverse than you might think. Look for beautiful bouquets of common varieties like “sweet” or “Christmas” for tomato sauce and salads. Try cinnamon basil on fruit salad or spicy Thai basil with noodle and rice dishes. The deep-purple leaves of opal basil make a showstopping pesto or pizza topper.

What to Do with Basil

Basil can be stored like flowers in a small glass of water on the counter for a couple of days. You can also store leaves loosely wrapped in a plastic bag with some paper towels in the veggie drawer of the fridge.

Stack those aromatic leaves on sandwiches, toss them into salad greens, or mash them into hummus, pesto and guacamole. Basil can also be used for dessert, incorporated into frozen treats like sorbet and ice pops.

Recipes to Try

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Photo by: Con Poulos

Con Poulos

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RachaelRay_BruschettaWithTomatoAndBasil_H

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

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