Basil is one of our most widely used herbs at Belhurst and now is the perfect time of year to be using it. It is very easy to grow and there is plenty of time left in the season to start some plants.
As a matter of fact, if you have a nice sunny window you can grow it year round with success. You can start it from seed or clipping. Basil likes full sun, warm soil and lots of water. Be sure to prune the spiking flowers as they will make your basil bitter. If I find my plants are growing faster than I can use them, I simply pluck the leaves and freeze them. You’ll be surprised how mush flavor is retained and how easy it is to just crumble a little flavor on your meals and salads.
There are 64 varieties of Basil and many of them are similar. Here are some of the groups:
Lemon: Good in dressings and with fish and vegetables but are probably best in desserts and drinks.
Pesto: Most common types of Basil. They are very aromatic and flavorful. Used in making Pesto (see recipe).
Lettuce Leaf: 5-6 Inches in length they are great for salads and sandwiches.
Spicy: Taste is similar to anise. These Basils are also ornamental and can be used in gardens.
Miniature: Can be used in cooking and garnishing, but also best to border gardens.
Ornamental: There are numerous varieties and colors to choose from.
Remember Basil is very easy to grow and care for. Don’t be intimidated by its strong aroma and flavor. And don’t forget to try a sprig in your next gimlet or martini. Click here to try our Basil recipes at home!
Executive Chef Casey Belile