ITALIAN COOKING AND RECIPES   Authentic And Traditional  Italian Food Recipes
BASIL = BASILICO The herb basil  is directly connected with Mediterranean cooking but also very common in Oriental food .Basil possesses a sweet, strong scent and flavour. There is 3 primary Mediterranean varieties: sweet, with big green leaves; Greek, with small leaves and also a peppery undertone; and purple basil , with darker leaves and more gentle flavour. Oriental types include lemon basil, with a citrus scent and small leaves. Fresh new cut basil must be covered with moist kitchen paper, put into a perforated bag and kept in the refrigerator - it can last a a couple days. Plants in pots basil must be placed in a sunlit but sheltered spot (a windowsill is perfect) and watered often (yet not too much, because that may decrease the flavour). When you pick leaves from it, a lot more will develop, and the herb should last many months. You'll never have maximum flavour when using dried basil, so remember this when replacing dried for fresh. Nevertheless, if you find yourself in serious need and without having fresh basil, use 1/3 the amount of dried basil replaced for fresh. 1 tbsp of fresh cut basil equals 1 tsp dried. Select a small amount of leaves from each plant, instead of removing a full stem. When you are picking, regularly nip off the branch tips, to encourage the herb to fill out.  Additionally, take off any flower buds and either throw away or use as a garnish. Collect the leaves from top down, reducing up to a third from the full plant size. Late in the season (before the first frost), trim the stalks towards the soil and pick off all the leaves. Freeze the fresh leaves by placing them  in an airtight container or plastic bag. Just break-off pieces as required for garden-fresh flavour in dishes. You can also freeze basil  in ice cubes for adding directly into soups. Dry basil by hanging stems in bunches, or scattering leaves  on a tray, in a dark, well-ventilated area. As soon as the leaves are dry (around a weeks time), you can crumble them into an airtight container.
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