Basil is one of the most popular herbs in cuisine and gardening. It is admired for its flavour and aroma, as a companion plant in vegetable gardens, and for its lovely foliage colours in ornamental plantings.
Native to the Middle East and Asia, basil has been cultivated for medicinal and culinary purposes for more than 5,000 years. Countries, such as India, traditionally utilized basil for supplementary treatment for diabetes, asthma, and stress as well as a topical remedy for acne. Recent studies have discovered potent antioxidant, antiviral and antimicrobial properties of the herb’s essential oil.
From a culinary perspective, the fragrant herb can be widely found as the featured ingredient in many cuisines around the world. While commonly expected in savoury fares alongside meats or vegetables, basil’s natural sweet tang can be drawn out further and accentuated by sugars and citruses in sweet dishes and desserts. Basil leaves are excellent in salads and add zest to any tomato dishes such as bruschetta and pasta sauce.
Basil will grow best in a warm location that gets 6 to 8 hours of sun. Although it loves warm weather, the direct sun can be too much. If your basil plant is wilting during the peak midday hours of the hot sun, you may need to protect it with some light shade. Soil should be moist but well-drained. Basil plants are great planted in containers or raised garden beds.
|Harvesting||Begin pinching stem tips when plants are 6 inches (15cm) tall to promote leaf production. Every two weeks, cut stems just above a leaf node. Do not remove more than one third of a plant’s foliage at one time. If plants go to flower, cut them back to one-third; they may re-sprout tender leaves. To keep blooms from forming, just pinch the growing tips every week, which will encourage branching and more leaves.|
|Storing||Store fresh, leafy stems in a jar of water (unrefrigerated) for a few days; change the water daily. To dry leaves, spread in a well-ventilated, shady area until dry and then store in airtight containers out of direct sunlight.|
Everleaf Emerald Tower is the first basil bred for season-long performance offering continuous harvest potential. It flowers up to 8 weeks later than standard basil and is resistant to Downy Mildew and Fusarium. This basil is fast-growing and has a tidy plant habit for planters, boxes or garden beds. Harvest continually and pinch off flowers… Read more »
Genovese basil has large (2”/5 cm) uniform dark green leaves with a strong basil flavour and aroma. This Italian classic is a favourite for pesto, bruschetta, and tomato-based sauces. Pinch out growing tips to encourage bushier plants and to delay flowering.
Newton is a fast-growing variety with large, bright green, crinkled leaves. Improved traditional Genovese flavour, but with no licorice or anise aftertaste. The leaves can grow up to 4″ (10 cm) and are perfect for pesto, tomato dishes, salads, and vegetable wraps. Uniform plant habit. Leaves should be picked just before flowering. Harvest continually and… Read more »
Red Rubin is a versatile culinary herb with a beautiful appearance in addition to great flavour. It has large, smooth, and flat leaves, approximately 3 to 4 inches (8 – 10 cm) long and pretty edible purple flowers. The flavour profile is similar to that of green basil, but the dark red-purple leaves tend to… Read more »
Thai Basil (Bai Horapa) has small, long, and narrow green leaves and purple stems. The peppery and subtle clove or licorice (anise) flavour adds an aromatic Thai flavour to any Asian dish. Encourage bushiness by pinching and snipping throughout the summer. The edible purple flowers may be pinched to promote more leaves for harvesting. Thai… Read more »
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