It was a beautiful morning here on our little backyard homestead. I've come to enjoy feeding the chickens and watering the container gardens, daily, here in sunny Southern California for the past 3 years. Coming from the North East coast, I'm no stranger to the cold or the snow and it feels good to be able to enjoy the outdoors, year round, especially the herb gardening!
This year my basil is a little out of control, so I thought I 'd share some of the many uses and benefits of this amazing little herb. I've included my flu fighting Tomatoe and Basil soup and Green Egg Burrito recipes, as well as my favorite "insta-fused" strawberry basil orangina and simple basil tea.
Here in the backyard, the garden isn't the only source of nutrition. Our chickens rule and with good reason! The "girls" not only give me joy and serenity, they provide the whole family with the freshest, purest, best tasting, naturally more nutrient rich, organic eggs! Yes. they really are that much better than store bought. If you can't raise your own chickens, local markets usually carry free range eggs which are definitely better than "factory eggs". You won't get backyard fresh, unless you go to a farmer's market or local farm, though.
For more information about backyard chickens, I use the Backyard Chicken blog. This site has been priceless to me, for all the best advice, for all things chicken. *Please check with local authorities to make sure your city or town is zoned for chickens first. Even if your area isn't rural like mine, you might still be able to keep a certain number of them, as long as you don't have any roosters. It's definitely worth it to us to keep chickens. See if it could be a fit for you.
I love bubbles! If you also crave the tingly feeling of effervescence, yet, you want to stay away from soda, sparkling waters are a great alternative. So many companies have jumped on the healthy bubble craze, that your odds of finding a grab-n-go flavor you like, are pretty good. One that stands out for me is LaCroix. They have a nice array of flavors (like yummy mango!) and their unflavored is what I use for my bubbly insta-fused* water recipes. And no, I don't get paid for that endorsement. It's really just my personal fave.
*insta-fused is a my own coin of phrase, I use to describe my method for creating richly flavored sparkling water. Without the need for the usual "steeping" to achieve an infused flavor,( as well as extracting nutritional benefits), my method allows you to use carbonated water without loosing the bubbles. Also note, Soda Stream machines are fantastic for making sparkling versions of any infused water!
Simple Basil Tea
For the best benefits of fresh basil, try 1-2 cups a day of this simple tea:
- crush 2 Tbsp. of fresh organic Sweet Basil into a cup
- add 1 cup of boiling water
- steep for 15 mins.
- use your favorite teapot/ diffuser or sieve to drain leaves.
Basil has many varieties and each has their own properties, but the majority of Basil grown today is Sweet Basil, a hybrid of years of cultivation. Also called St. Joseph's Wort, it has these therapuedic properties:
- mild diuretic
- treating cough, whooping cough and sore throat
- relieving nausea, constipation and cramps
- reduce glucose levels
- treatment for epilepsy, rhumatism, arthritis and halitosis
- fever reducer for flu and urinary tract infection
- promotes alertness and focus
- helps with irritability, depression and insomnia
Basil has been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicinal practices for it's antiseptic qualities and to promote better circulation after birth, help with milk production, to treat kidney problems, colic and to rid the body of intestinal worms.
*Personally, I use basil tea often for my stomach. I have a liver/blood condition, thrombocytopenia and a liver condition that sometimes gives me nausea and this tea really helps! I also use basil essential oil, as well as the scent from my garden, to lift my spirits and ease depression. Isn't it nice that basil does these amazing things for us! Why not try one of my basil recipes or just brew some tea, and let me know how it works for you. I'd love to hear from you!