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  • Most Wasted Ingredients

    Basil

    Basil

    Basil is a common victim of our rubbish and compost bins – purchased for cooking a single meal, the remainder lies in the fridge untouched and ignored until it’s no longer good to eat. However by knowing some good simple habits to prolong it’s lifespan and use up leftovers will mean you never need waste your basil again:   

    Store |

    Pop the stems into a cup of water, like a bouquet of flowers, and store in your fridge, covered with a plastic bag to prevent dehydration.

    Growing your own basil can be one of the most efficient, cost effective and waste-avoiding ways to supply your kitchen with fresh herbs. Simply cut off what you need as you need it and you won’t be left with half a bunch at the end of your meal.

    Refresh your basil by submerging it under ice-cold water for 10-15 minutes

    Cook |

    • Pesto – basil is most famous in this popular paste, blended with pinenuts, garlic, parmesan and olive oil. Serve on bread, tossed through pasta, as a dressing for potato salads, a marinade for roasted eggplant or stirred through scrambled eggs.
    • Tomato is a favourite friend of basil. Fresh, roasted or pureed, tomato can be mixed in with basil leaves for distinctively Italian flavours.
    • Basil Oil – basil leaves can be kept in olive oil for up to 6 months, creating a beautiful flavoured oil perfect for pastas, salads and breads.
    • Check out the FoodWise Recipe Room for ideas on how to use up your basil. Our favourites include: Salad Nicoise, Beetroot and Basil Pesto Insalata Caprese and Sauteed Aubergines and Mozerella.

    Buy |

    Look out for when buying: Bright and fragrant leaves, no browning.

    In Season |

    Available all year around in supermarkets, basil grows best in warmer months in Australia and will tend to die down in your garden in winter.

    Substituting fresh herbs for dried herbs can be a great option if you don’t have any fresh to hand (or you know you can’t use it all!). A general rule is to use the 3:1 ratio—use 3 times more fresh than dried eg. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil equals 1 teaspoon dried.

    Fun Fact |

    Basil has different symbolic meanings in different parts of the world. In Italy, it’s a token of love, in Haiti, a token of protection, and it has a sacred meaning in Hindu culture.

    Recipe Ideas | 

    Give these recipes a try to see how you can best use basil in your cooking: