Complete Guide to Basil
Basil is one of the most well known of the world's herbs. It originated in Asia, but now has become heavily used around the world. It is cultivated in more than 12 different varieties, some of which include Lemon Basil, Cinnamon Basil and Royal Basil. One of the most popular varieties of the basil herb is commonly referred to as Sweet Basil, because of its sweet aroma which derives from the essential oils founds in its leaves and stem. Basil is frequently used in soups, either diced or as whole leaves. While it can be used as a dried spice, it best used when fresh for cooking. The leaves are the part of the plant that is used for flavoring. Its flowers are white and grow fairly large.
Basil thrives in warm, sunny climates. It will grow perennially only if it doesn't freeze. In colder climates, basil herbs act as annuals and need to be replanted each growing season. Basil grows best in an outdoor environment with exposure to five or more hours of sunlight each day, but can be cultivated indoors in pots, as well. Basil needs plenty of sunlight to grow and flower, so make sure it is in a bright place. The basil herb plant will stop growing after its flowers mature. To ensure that the plant continues to produce leaves, pinch of the stems that are flowering to prevent the plant from going to seed. Of course, letting a basil herb plant go to seed means that the seeds can be collected and cultivated in the following growing season.
The basil herb is usually associated with Italian and Mediterranean cooking despite its Asian origins. As a main flavoring agent in sauces, eaten fresh or made into an olive oil and garlic sauce called pesto, the basil herb has found its way into many traditional European dishes. It is also a common ingredient in Thai food, including curry recipes and stir-fries. The diversity and mellow flavor of the basil herb have also led it to be included as a common ingredient in salads, salad dressings, pasta dishes and even sandwiches.
The basil herb also enjoys a rich history in folklore. Many of the cultures it is common in use basil as a symbol for love, holiness, purity, and sanctity, among many others. In the Hindi religion, a variety of basil called Holy Basil is particularly special and has a long and involved role in Hindi tradition.
Basil Herb |
History of Basil |
Basil Plants |
Growing Basil |
Growing Basil Indoors |
Harvesting Basil |
Storing Basil | Freezing Basil | Cooking with Basil | Basil Infused Oil | Thai Basil | Holy Basil
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