To Market: Basil

Carin Makuz is a farmers’ market enthusiast. In To Market she brings us news and inspiration from across Durham.

Basil, Sweet (Ocimum basilicum)

In Italy it’s a token of love. In Romania if you give a sprig of it to someone, presto bongo! you’re engaged. Even Keats got the love connection—Isabella and the Pot of Basil is about a woman’s tears watering the plant in which she’s buried her lover’s head.

Here’s another idea: do yourself a favour and just buy some.

Spend a little time smelling it. [it’s said to refresh the mind and improve concentration]

Buy a loaf of good bread too.
Probably also worth smelling.

Take basil leaves off the stem and pack until you have two measuring cups full. Put leaves into a food processor. Add three or four cloves of garlic, a handful of pinenuts or walnuts, a pinch or two of salt. Turn on machine and drizzle half a cup of good olive oil onto leaves—or just enough to make a slightly runny paste.

Slice the bread.
Spread a little pesto.
Sit down.
Close your eyes.
This is a token of love for yourself.