When I recently bought my rosemary plant I also bought a pot of basil. I could not resist how cheap it was against the cost of rosemary. I have always had ongoing relationships with herbs. And so here I go again trying to re-activate those sleeping relationships one herb at a time.
As wiki re-introduces me to basil it says, basil is considered the "king of herbs" by many chefs. "Basil" comes from the Latin word basilicus, meaning dragon and being the root for basilisk, but this likely was a linguistic reworking of the word as brought from Greece".
As we all already know basil is most often used fresh in cooking recipes. As a general practice fresh or dried basil leaves are added last to a dish essentially because heat quickly destroys its flavour. Basil serves as the main ingredients in preparing pesto. Take olive oil, herb sauce and pine nuts and presto there's pesto.
Basil can be kept fresh "for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or for a longer period in the freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water". Ah ah. I prefer freshly picked, don't you? I also use dry just because fresh is unavailable but dried basil is not as flavorful.
And we have always assumed that only Italians use this herb extensively. In fact, "the Chinese also use fresh or dried basils in soups and other foods. In Taiwan, people add fresh basil leaves to thick soups . They also eat fried chicken with deep-fried basil leaves".
"Thai Basil is commonly steeped in cream or milk to create an interesting flavor in ice cream or chocolates (such as truffles). It is sometimes used with fresh fruit and in fruit jams and sauces—in particular with strawberries, but also raspberries or dark-colored plums. Arguably, the flat-leaf basil used in Vietnamese cooking, which has a slightly different flavour, is more suitable for use with fruit."
My basil is now with my decorative plants outside our front door. "Although basil will grow best outdoors, it can be grown indoors in a pot and, like most herbs, will do best on an equator-facing windowsill. It should be kept away from extremely cold drafts, and grows best in strong sunlight, therefore a greenhouse is ideal if available. " And I didn't know, they can "be grown even in a basement, under fluorescent lights".
Tip: "if its leaves have wilted from lack of water, it will recover if watered thoroughly and placed in a sunny location. Yellow leaves towards the bottom of the plant are an indication that the plant needs more sunlight or less fertilizer".
My, my, I have harvested hundreds of basil leaves back when I had an herb garden, where we used to live, and I realize there's still much, much more to learn about my dear basil.
My loads of thank yous to wiki for these snippets of basil info.
And thanks to this site for the basil photo.
Will post my own basil plant photo later when the shots from my SLR camera gets developed.
Cheers to Basil.