Herb Gardens featuring Basil!
With the ever-increasing advances and technology, we are getting farther and farther away from nature simply out of convenience. As a nation we consume more prepackaged products than any other industrialized country, not to mention fast food. One of the ways we can bring nature a little closer to home is by having an herb garden.
Herb gardens are easier to grow than other plants and unlike other greenery that is kept simply for their beauty, herb gardens can be used on a daily basis by incorporating them into our meals. I myself do not have a green thumb but have been able to successfully maintain an herb garden that I can use to conveniently flavor my food in a more natural and cost efficient way. There are many benefits to maintaining a homegrown herb variety that is available for use at all times. There are also many kits available that are suitable for small apartments, even for city homes. There is also a selection of greenhouses that are very convenient and economical. They come in all sizes to aid in the harvesting of these wonderful plants.
Among some of the benefits to having an herb garden are:
- Readily available and fresh when you need them. No need to run to the store for a pre-packaged container or dry version. Fresh is always better and healthier. You save time and money in the process.
- By keeping an assortment of herbs means you can have different flavors every night. Even if you have chicken several times a week, by using a different one each time, it will make it new with the diverse aroma and essence that each species of herb brings to the table.
- It can be used as a learning and bonding tool for kids as well. Not only it teaches them about gardening and cooking but also picky eaters might be more inclined to try new foods if they are prepared with ingredients they grew themselves. Builds self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment while getting them away from video games for a while.
- Because you grow it yourself, you can be rest assured that there are no pesticides or chemicals added and it wasn’t processed in a factory somewhere.
- The health benefits of herbs have been regarded since ancient times. They not only provide vitamins and nutrients to heal us from the inside with their medicinal properties, but gardening can be a sort of stress reliever. The aromatherapy from all those wonderful scents they each emit distinctly is a source to appeal to all the senses with their display, aroma, and taste. Talk about advantages inside and out!
For our featured herb today we have Basil. It contains many anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities. The aroma always takes me back to when I was little and my mom would have a bottle of alcoholado filled with basil leaves inside. Alcoholado is a rubbing liquid for muscular pains and always worked to relieve leg cramps, arthritis, and other muscular ailments. It is now that I know that it was because of its anti-inflammatory benefits.
The oils in basil prevent bacterial growth (including e coli) so it’s a good idea to add some leaves to your vinaigrette dressing to pour over your salad greens. It is also a great way to add flavor without adding calories, fat, or sodium.
Basil is an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients. What best way to add some zest to your veggies, salads, stews, soup, pasta sauce, and even chicken, meat, or fish. It also contains iron and lowers cortisol (the stress hormone). Why not relax a little by adding a couple of leaves to your iced tea one of these wonderful spring and summer evenings?
Basil comes from the Mint family and there are numerous varieties with their own individual flavor. Get yours started today and start eating fresher, healthier, tastier!