Basil is a plant and culinary herb that is used in cuisines worldwide. It is known for its tender leaves and bold flavor.
Basil is a tender leaf that tastes like a bit like anise and has some sweetness along with a wonderfully pungent aroma. If there is basil in or on something, you almost always know it before it hits your lips.
At the grocery store, you will normally see sweet basil in potted plants or in the plastic packages, but there are plenty of other varieties to choose from. Each type has a different shape, a different color in some cases, and different flavors as the essential oils vary.
You can find it in fresh or dried form. The fresh kind is more intense. It will have a brighter and greener (for lack of a better word here) taste than dried basil. Roughly two tablespoons of the fresh stuff are equal to one tablespoon of the dried.
There are roughly 150 different species of basil and some of these are hybrids made from the sweet variety while others are their own thing.
This is a very delicate herb. In most instances, if you are using fresh basil you will add it as a garnish, at the very last second, or in a dish that isn’t cooked. Heating it and cooking it causes it to wilt and brown quickly and for the flavor to go away.
You can eat their seeds as well. If soaked in a liquid, they form a glutinous mass similar to that chia seeds and chia pudding. These seeds are full of dietary fiber, iron, protein, and antioxidants to name a few.
Here are some great recipes using basil:
- Pesto Aioli
- Tomato Basil Shrimp Pasta
- Coconut Curry Chicken
- Caprese Skewers
- Homemade Italian Seasoning
What is basil good for?
Basil is pairs well with tomato, olives, oregano, and garlic which makes it perfect for Italian cooking. It is one of the main ingredients in pesto and works with many kinds of pasta as well as meats, cheeses, and more.
Can basil leaves be eaten raw?
Easy, 100% yes. Dried basil is great, but in my opinion, it is. all about the fresh and raw leaves. They are a true flavor powerhouse.
How long will a basil plant live?
If you buy a sweet basil plant at the store and keep it in a warm place (indoors or a warmer climate,) it can last up to a year. They like lots of sunlight and moist, well-drained soil.
Is basil toxic?
If you decide to grow some in the house, don’t worry. Your furry friends will not be adversely affected if they take a little nibble of the plant as it is non-toxic. If it is flowering and they try that, it may give them an upset stomach and can be harmful in larger quantities.