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Basil - what is basil

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Basil - what is basil Photo © Flickr user The Marmot

Overview :

Basil is a fragrant herb with strong ties to both Italian and Indian cooking. Basil varieties range from teeny fairy basil to large garden varieties with leaves large enough to use as wraps in cooking. Basil has many different colors. You can grow plants that are a deep purple, blue or a myriad of greens. There are also many different flavors of basil; sweet, spicy, lemon and even licorice can be found.

Latin Name :

Ocimum basilicum

Common Name:

Basil

USDA Hardiness Zone :

Annual, easy to start from seed. Great for kid's garden.

Exposure :

Full sun

Harvest :

As soon as plants is large enough to lose some leaves.

Uses :

Good in all tomato, pepper and eggplant dishes. Taste great with fish and meat. Try it in soups and wrapped around cheese as an appetizer.
For gardeners, no matter if you have a small window box garden or a large acre farm, basil has plants that will grow well in any size space. Look for a bush basil for a more compact and dwarf habit. Basil is an easy to grow annual so you can grow it straight from seed or start with a few plants. Basil likes well drained soil because it is susceptible to mildew and needs to remain watered but not soaking wet. It is also a good idea to keep larger leaves pinched back. The more airflow around the plant, the healthier for your basil.

Although basil is sometimes found crushed in jars, it doesn't dry well.If the leaves are bruised, they will turn an unsightly black. To store your excess basil for winter's use, puree in a food processor with just enough olive oil to make a paste. Freeze in ice cube trays and then pop the frozen cubes into a gallon size freezer bag. In any size garden, make room for basil.

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