Pesto sauce and caprese salad are probably the foods that come to mind most often when one thinks of basil. However, the applications for basil leaves in the kitchen are unlimited. Basil can be easily grown in a restaurant garden and added to dishes to provide unusual flavor combinations and health benefits.
The Health Benefits of Basil
Basil is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, essential minerals such as iron and manganese, and plenty of antioxidant compounds. Like most herbs, it is also low in calories and fat, making it attractive to health-conscious diners. Aside from the health benefits of basil, it’s relatively easy to grow as well, boosting the restaurant garden as well as the menu.
Growing a Basil Plant
Growing herbs can be challenging and time consuming, depending on the size of the restaurant garden and the types of herbs being grown. However, the basil plant is relatively resistant to weather and watering conditions, making it easier to grow than many other types of herbs. Additionally, since it repels bugs, it can greatly improve the customer dining experience during outdoor dining. Some flowers, herbs, and trees attract insects. This not only makes the restaurant garden dining experience less pleasant, but also makes growing herbs and other plants aesthetically, very difficult. Growing basil can help repel insects in the area, making it easier for other plants to grow in the garden as well. However, under ideal environmental conditions, basil can grow like a weed. Therefore, it is recommended to grow it in pots or in an area where it is unlikely to damage other herbs. A basil plant in the restaurant garden can provide a constant, fresh supply of the herb for use in restaurant dishes.<!–more–>
How to Use Basil Leaves in the Kitchen
Cooking with herbs is one of the easiest ways to created unusual flavor combinations in the kitchen. Basil is obviously a great base ingredient for pesto and salads, but can also be used in soups, drinks, pastas, and desserts. Peach-basil sangria can be a refreshing alternative to the staple during the summer. Strawberry, sweet balsamic, basil tarts and lemon-basil sorbet can be great hot weather desserts. Basil leaves can even be ground with olive oil, left to sit for a few days, and then strained, creating basil-infused oil with a bright green color that is perfect for garnishing. Chefs and cooks can develop creative, usual flavor combinations when it comes to cooking with herbs, and basil leaves are an ideal option.
Basil leaves are an excellent culinary tool for adding unique flavors to menus. Growing basil plants is relatively simple and can boost the outdoor dining experience for diners by helping to repel insects.