Basil Facts Sheet
Types of Basil
There are many types of basil with a variety of flavours. I have only mentioned the common ones here:
Sweet basil (most common in Italian cooking)
Thai Basil (most common in Thai cooking)
Holy Basil (Tulsi)
How to grow basil
Soil: light, well drained soil
Position: sunny and sheltered from winds
Height: sweet basil grows to 75cm and other basils tend to be lower growing, around 30cm.
Plant: in late spring for prolific growth throughout summer. Harvest regularly, pinching out the flower heads to increase the growth of leaves and ensure a long season.
It will be necessary to harvest all the leaves in the early autumn as colder weather weakens the plant.
Storing: basil can be stored as a pesto, or chopped and frozen in ice cube trays for use in other seasons.
Basil is well known for being a great companion plant for tomatoes and it also tends to invigorate other vegetables that it grows with.
In the kitchen
Sweet basil (shown above) famously teams well with tomatoes and olive oil:
tomato, bocconcini and basil salad
bruschetta with tomato and basil
tomato and basil soup
Basil also works well with:
zucchini, eggplant, squash
hard cheeses and goats cheese
lemon and lime
coconut based curries
Basil is wonderful in pesto, see pesto recipe.
Sweet basil is beneficial for the digestive system and the nervous system.
Basil tea can be made from fresh leaves to relieve a tension headache.Blend with lemon balm and/or chamomile.
Holy basil (tulsi) is used in a tea to restore balance and vitality. It has 3000 years of recorded medicinal use. It is thought to promote a long life.