Basil and Peach Salad

My husband loves to buy boxes of Palisade peaches this time of year. The over ripe ones are cheaper but they have to be used up quickly. I have been making this salad during the summers for more than a decade. It still remains a favorite of mine. It is the perfect way to use up a lot of fruit. This recipe is the perfect balance of sweet, sour/tart, acid, “spice”and pungency/heat.

Basil and Peach Salad

10 just barely ripe peaches coarsely chopped

4 large heirloom tomatoes coarsely chopped ( I used an orange variety but any color will do)

Set these aside in a large bowl

1 cup of olive oil

1/4 cup of seasoned rice wine vinegar

1 TBSP of sugar (optional)

Mix the ingredients for the dressing well. I would add a 1/4 cup of dressing to the salad and then add more as needed. Leftover dressing can be stored for later use. This salad is better served fresh and not allowed to sit. The fruit will start to break down due to the acids.

Garnish individual servings with slivers of chopped fresh basil and whole nasturtium flowers. Serve immediately

Basil is in the mint family. Typically it is an annual but will overwinter indoors. It is a very common garden herb used as a companion plant and insect repellant. A thin branching root produces several lush square stems growing 1-2 feet high. The leaves can vary from bright to dark green depending on the variety. Some types like Thai basil have purple in their oppositely arranged leaves. Leaves can be oval to spade shaped, toothed or smooth in their margins. Like others in the family, it has lots of small two lipped flowers that grow on racemes/spikes of 2-4 inches. These are a favorite of bumble bees and come in shades of white, red or purple. A distinguishing feature of Ocimum is the smell, similar in all varieties but with slightly different “notes”.

This plant warms, calms, and clears phlegm/damp. Historically basil has been used to treat all manner of digestive complaints such as cramps, vomiting, constipation, gas, low appetite, diarrhea, bacterial infections and inflammation. It stimulates the flow of breast milk, cures a headache, and calms a bad cough. Ocimum has been used for depression, the flu, fever, asthma, retained placenta, fever, anxiety, bronchitis, and fatigue. It works well to support the lungs.

Externally it has helped with acne, bug bites, fungal infections, sore muscles, and arthritis. The essential oils/scent make it useful in aromatherapy, ritual bathing/cleansing, beauty products and as incense.

Parts Used: Leaves and flowers

Energetics:bitter, warm, dry, pungent

Element:Fire

Spiritual/Emotional Uses: Integration, especially when two things seem contrary in nature. May be used to bring luck protection, or blessings to body, home or new relationships. Use it when there is conflict or negative energies in a situation. It is commonly used in ritual baths , especially for the dead.

Contraindications: Avoid large/therapeutic doses in pregnancy

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

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