Sweet basil – Royal herb
Let me start out with a small fact about myself. I just love basil! I grow this fabulous herb in my own home garden – and it just makes me feel so happy. If you rub a basil leaf between your fingers, an irresistible aroma fill your senses. And the taste –sweet and spicy at the same time. If you’ve ever used basil in food or decoration, how can you not love it?
Because the basil flavors are so diverse and unique, they cannot be replaced by any other plant. The distinct taste of basil has given life to some of my simplest salads and the blandest pastas – so it is not surprising that many famous authors of various culinary books call basil “king of the herbs”.
Basil is also known by the Latin name – Ocimum basilicum, where the epithet ‘basilicum’ is derived from the Greek words ‘basileus’ and ‘basilicos’ which means “royal” or “king”. Basil originated from tropical Asia, and this ancient herb has been cultivated in India for over five thousand years. During my expeditions to India and Mauritius, I have met with local people who deeply believe in the wonderful powers of basil. This experience has touched me deeply and made me respect this plant even more.
During this trip, I also learned that in ancient Egypt, basil was used as an antidote to snake and scorpion bites, and was also used in embalming the Pharaohs – where it was found abundantly in the depths of the pyramids. Also, in ancient Greece, it was believed that basil has rejuvenating powers, so people could be found playing around in basil baths. The ancient Greeks even used basil juice to give fascinating new taste to vines and liquor.
Sweet basil is a robust annual or short-lived perennial, that can grow 20-60 cm in height. This is a plant that does not take up much space in the garden and is an aromatic companion for my other plants. Sweet basil has a soft-texture, hairless leaves and small flowers that vary in color from white to light lavender blue.
Sweet basil is an excellent plant for several diets. The plant is low in calories, has almost zero fat and is a good sources of vitamins and minerals. However, saving basil can be tricky. The plant may dry easily and lose its rich smell and flavor. If you can’t get fresh basil, it is better to keep it in olive oil or stored in a freezer.
This aromatic herb is a delight for culinary gourmet dishes all over the world. Growing different sorts of basil can give you a wide range of taste starting from lemon and laurel, all the way to camphor, cinnamon and even jasmine. One of the flavors that really surprised me was when I tried basil that smelled like licorice. I assumed that the wrong herb was used in the place of basil, but there is nothing wrong with my sense of smell. It is just basil, it offers us so many different possibilities and makes our diets diverse.
At NATUFIA, I am always testing out different varieties of basil that can be grown organically. With NATUFIA, you don’t sacrifice the smell or tastes of the royal herb – since you harvest when you eat it. Best of all, you can grow it all year long. So use and experiment with this royal herb in your kitchen –you won’t be disappointed. If you have any questions about my experience with basil or other plants, I will be more than happy to share them with you.
And don’t forget, with everything we do in our garden…we must find a little patience in ourselves, so that our plant can mature. I live by this saying in the garden and in life.
About the Author:
KRISTA KAUR, MSc
Krista holds a Master of Science and is an author of seven books on topics like biodiversity, ethnobotany and the environmental impact of agriculture. With over 20 years of experience as a botanist, she thrives off of making others feel empowered, connected, and inspired by nature. At Natufia Labs, Krista is busy testing new and exotic seeds—experimenting with LED lights and their effect on garden growth, taste and aroma. If you have questions regarding anything to do with plants—Krista is the one with answers. She is thrilled to share her knowledge with the rest of the world.
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