BASIL (Ocimum basilicum) is derived from the Greek word meaning King, 'basileus'. There are many varieties of basil, some are excellent for culinary use, such as 'Sweet Basil' (O. basilicum). Others, like 'African Blue Basil', can be eaten too, but are most often used as ornamental plants in the yard or garden. Throughout history, basil has inspired mythology, names, and has been a pleasant flavor, sight and smell, enjoyed by gardeners and people around the world.My other favorite culinary basil's include: 'Large leaf Italian', 'Red Rubin' , and 'Sweet Genovese'. Not as preferred, but still included in our gardens are the Citrus basil's such as, Lemon and Lime cultivars of O. americanum. Both types make a zesty pesto that is especially good on fish dishes. And, as I'm writing this, I'm thinking that they would probably work well in desserts too. There are many species and hundreds of other basil varieties, which makes growing basil so interesting and fun!
Grow your own basil to get the most for your money. In the supermarket, herbs are usually sold in small bunches. When you grow your own you benefit by being able to freshly pick the basil at your convenience, as you need it. Basil is readily available in garden centers or is easy to grow from seed. The many varieties of green and burgundy color, aromatic plants can be grown in the garden or on the porch or deck in pots. Basil prefers good drainage, full sun and hot weather.
In addition to the flavor, adding basil will add nutrition to your meals too (like most herbs). Basil can be added to soups, salads, stews, desserts, breads, egg dishes, pizza, sauces and many foods. Basil is the main ingredient in 'pesto', which is my favorite way to preserve the basil harvest.
GardenCuizine Pesto recipe to follow
- For a Nutrition profile and more information about Basil check out my article -- 'Basil, the King of Herbs' -- published on Dave's Garden