September - the month of the ending summer, and the month of richness when every sunny day gives a gift – herb or fruit, or both 😊
“In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil. And at no season, safe perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb colour effects as from August to November.” - Rose G. Kingsley
BASIL (Ocimum Basilisicum – Sweet Basil)
The good old Basil ( Ocimum Basilisicum , Holy Basil) is an annual herb- plant with a very rich aroma. The stem is 20-60 cm high, four-edged, branched from the base. Basil leaves are opposite, with long stalks, ovate, 3 - 5 cm long and 2 - 2.5 cm wide, almost entire or with sparse teeth. The inflorescence is interrupted spike-shaped, formed by small-flowered vertebrae. The flowers are white, rarely pink. After ripening, the basil fruit breaks down into 4 black-brown nuts. It blooms in July and August.
Basil requires full sun and well-drained soil. Sow seeds directly in the ground after frost danger has passed. ¼ inch down. Keep moist. Germinates in 5-7 days. Thin to 6-12 inches apart. Or sow indoors. Mulch around stems to retain moisture and reduce weeds. Must be well watered at least once a week. Fertilizer is not usually needed. Use sparingly as it will reduce its fragrant oils. Pruning will encourage bushy growth, clip off the flower stalks as they form to keep a steady supply of leaves coming.
Treat as an annual or bring indoors in cool weather and keep under artificial lights 6-8 hours per day. Very sensitive to cold. A single frost will kill it. But it is drought tolerant and, if dry and drooping, will usually spring back after a good watering.
The best time to harvest is on a warm, sunny day, just after the dew has dried and just before the flowers form. But you can harvest basil as you need it.
Harvest by pinching off leaves as needed once the plant is strong enough to handle it. If taking a large harvest, leave at least two shoots intact. It will grow back in a few weeks.( I normally cut as many branches as I need with scissors and leave the bottom 2-3 leaf for easy and faster regrowth )
Hang upside in bunches or lay flat on a drying rack to dry. Ensure proper ventilation to reduce the chance of mold. Store in an airtight container away from heat or light for up to one year. The flavor of dried basil is not as good as fresh basil.
To maintain better flavor, chop fresh basil and freeze in ice cubes to drop into sauces. Use within one year. You can also freeze whole leaves in a plastic bag. Rub the leaves with olive oil before freezing.
Or try mixing chopped basil with butter and then freezing. This is good for fish.
Basil can also be preserved by using it to make pesto, herbal butter, and vinegar or make and can sauces while your basil is still fresh. Basil tea after a meal is said to aid digestion and prevent flatulence. It is used for many stomach complaints, where a calming effect is desired, such as stomach and abdominal cramping due to gas or other reasons and also for digestive ailments.
It has a mild sedative action and is also useful for nervous headaches and anxiety.
Holy Basil is used in Ayurvedic Medicine to increase the body’s resistance to stress, to enhance adrenal function and for physical and mental endurance and to balances the chakras.
The oils of basil have antibiotic and antifungal properties.
”Ocimum” is from the Greek, meaning “to be fragrant”
The word Basil comes from the Greek, meaning “King”
Basilisicum is from the Latin for Basilisk, a creature that could cause madness and death. It was carried or ingested as a charm against attacks. It may have been used to cure madness, or it may have been attributed with causing madness.
Basil may have been brought to Greece by Alexander the Great around 350BCE
- Sweet Basil
(Ocimum basilicum) - White flowers, deep green leaves. Salads, vinegar, pesto
- Spicy Globe Basil
- Compact, good for small gardens. Use like sweet basil.
- Lettuce Leaf Basil
- White flowers, large crinkly leaves. Sweeter flavor. Good in salads. Grows like crazy
And many more…
Here a recipe for homemade fresh green pesto in 15 minutes.
Fresh Green Pesto:
Homemade pesto is one of the best ways to enjoy a bounty of fresh basil. This basil pesto recipe is with nuts, garlic, Parmesan or Romano cheese, and extra virgin olive oil. And in just 15 minutes could be on a toast with red grapes in addition… It definitely Worth every minute of prep.
• 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (can sub half the basil leaves with baby spinach)
• 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
• 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1/3 cup pine nuts (or chopped walnuts)
• 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
• 1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
• 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
Mix the basil leaves with the nuts, the garlic and the olive oil in a food blender or food processor until creamy, add the salt, the black pepper and the cheese and mix/pulse it again to blend all flavors. Toss with pasta for a quick sauce, dollop over baked potatoes, or spread onto crackers or toasted slices of bread. Enjoy!
Now as we already have the Green Joyful Pesto – here I want to express a big gratitude to the vines that give us the famous Red Grapes 😊
One of the most valuable ingredients in grapes is glucose, which is very useful for people suffering from heart disease. It is known from science that 140-150 calories are needed for the normal functioning of the heart. They can be obtained only from 200-300 g of well-ripened grapes. Grape sugar is a physiological stimulator of the heart, helping to improve oxidative processes and improve metabolism. Therefore, grapes are known as a healer in many heart diseases. Grape sugar facilitates the absorption of oxygen in the tissues and therefore it participates in the energy balance of the human body. Grapes are characterized by a very rich content of very useful for the human body mineral salts of calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, aluminum, manganese, sulfur, phosphorus, copper, iodine, bromine, zinc, silicon and others. Grapes are also rich in vitamins D, B1, B2, and C. It is important to know that they are contained more in the skin than in the flesh of the beans. Grapes should be consumed together with the skin and because it is an excellent means of disposing of accumulated toxins in the stomach and intestines. Another valuable quality of grapes is that it contains pectin substances, which also accumulate in the skin of the berries.
Who should not consume grapes?
Unfortunately, the nutritional and medicinal properties of grapes cannot benefit people who have stomach ulcers and duodenal ulcers, chronic diarrhea, hypersensitivity to grapes, patients with severe heart decompensation, at an advanced stage in the development of tuberculosis and ulcers in oral cavity. Also, people with Diabetes should be aware to not exceed the number of grapes allowed in their diet.
On the other hand, the Red Grapes are the superfood for staying young at Heart and it is good have on the table at any time. Why?
Red grapes are synonymous with good health. It is true that white grapes are also good for our health, but red varieties of this fruit contain more antioxidants.
There are people who do not distinguish between the taste of different varieties of grapes. Connoisseurs of this fruit prefer the fragrant varieties of red grapes to others.
As always, when it comes to food, the key is balance. Consumption of this fruit during your day will protect you from aging and improve your health. Red grapes contain as much resveratrol (phytoalexin) in the skin of their berries as they do in their seeds. This substance is known as the "youth molecule".
Due to the powerful action of resveratrol, the pharmaceutical industry has long been interested and researching this amazing antioxidant.
Red grapes protect us from premature aging due to their high concentration of antioxidants.
Remember that resveratrol fights inflammation and destroys pathogens in the blood.
If we eat about 15-20 grapes, we will reduce the level of sodium in our body.
You can add red grapes to your salad for lunch or dinner. You can
Skip a meal and replace it with the formula- Cheese-Red Grapes-Walnuts. By the way this is always my favorite for all the autumn afternoons -fresh milky walnuts, red grape and feta cheese …I suggest you try this combination and I promise you wont regret it.
Live every Autumn Day with the richness of colors, flavors and goodness for your body and mind.
And not to forget