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Basil is a wonderful plant to plant near your kitchen windows or doorways, not just for its use in your favorite dishes, but because this culinary herb has terrific natural pest repellent properties! Said to effectively keep house flies and mosquitoes away, planting Basil near entryways to your home, rubbing it on your skin and clothing, and planting it around your yard and patio will help reduce the amount of unwanted summer pests. Planting it in your garden will also keep destructive pests like Thrips, white flies, and aphids away from neighboring plants. Basil blooms are also very attractive to butterflies and other useful pollinators.
Basil is said to increase the health and flavor of many vegetables like asparagus, bell peppers, cabbage and especially tomato plants when companion planted together. For best results, do not plant Sage or Rue near your Basil, as this is said to inhibit the plant's growth and flavor. Instead, grow Chamomile near your Basil plants to encourage its success.
We came across this recipe in the summer edition of Heirloom Herb! It is a great use of Thai Basil, and very easy to make:
Vegetarian Basil Eggplant
1 - 2 chili peppers
2 Eggplants, long variety (cut into pieces)
1 TLB Soy Sauce
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 TLB sugar
1 Bunch of Thai Basil leaves (approximately 1/2 cup)
1 TLB olive oil
Heat a pan or wok over medium heat, and add oil, peppers and garlic. Stir constantly until the garlic turns a bit brown. Add the eggplant and keep stirring. Add 1 cup of water, cover the pan and keep cooking until the eggplant turns translucent (5-8 minutes). Cook until all the water is absorbed, and add soy sauce and sugar. Cook a bit longer, add the basil and quickly stir to heat the herb but you want it to retain its color. Remove from heat, and serve over rice!