Also known as Sweet Basil, it is one of the most popular herbs in the UK.
Basil is not only highly aromatic but its sweet yet spicy, peppery flavours partner well with tomatoes, mozzarella and pasta dishes.
As a member of the mint family, basil also goes really well with sweet dishes such as strawberries and dark chocolate.
As its essential oils are on the surface of the leaf, basil is always best added towards the end of cooking to prevent loss of flavour.
Simple Basil tips …
- Hey Pesto! So easy – blitz olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, basil and grated parmesan.
- Not just for savoury dishes, try adding chopped basil leaves to your favourite chocolate brownie mix for a delicious flavour twist.
- Add freshly torn basil leaves to tomato-based sauces or soups such as minestrone.
- Tear up fresh basil leaves and add to a bowl of vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries. You can even add a sprinkle of ground black pepper too.
- Known for its calming qualities, try basil tea. Just add hot water to 2-3 leaves and let steep for a few minutes.
Where to buy me
Vitacress are proud to supply the leading UK supermarkets with their packs of herbs and pots of British-grown herbs all year round. We carefully pack the herbs in the retailer’s packaging for Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose and you can find them in the fresh produce area.
Greek Basil is small leafed variety with a bushier, tighter leaf canopy and a slightly spicier flavour. It can be used in the same way as the traditional larger leafed, sweet basil. Just snip the sprigs of leaves and add to salads, pasta and tomato dishes.
If you have a pot of living Greek Basil, look after it in the same way as a standard basil. Wait for it to wilt slightly before watering sparingly.
Thai Basil is native to Southeast Asia and the flavour is more stable for high temperature or extended cooking than that of the Sweet Basil. Thai Basil is a popular ingredient used in Thai red and green curries as well as noodle dishes and stir fries.
Thai Basil in a pot should be looked after in the same way as standard Basil, water sparingly when it starts to wilt and it will pick up quickly.
How to look after me
Where to keep me – Keep your pot of living basil on a saucer or planter. It will thrive in a bright, draught free place. Do not refrigerate your pot of basil as the leaves will turn black from chill damage.
How to water – It’s best to water your basil sparingly and only when the leaves start to wilt. Your living basil will pick up quickly. By stressing the basil slightly it will increase the essential oils which intensifies the flavour.
How to use – Pick sprigs of leaves from the top of the plant down to the new side growth. This will allow the younger leaves to grow on. If using for salads and cold dishes, tear the leaves rather than cutting as the edges may turn black. Although perfectly safe to eat, it doesn’t look too appealing. Always rinse fresh herbs under cold, running water and pat dry with kitchen towel to remove excess water.
Where to keep me – Basil is best kept out of the refrigerator as it is highly susceptible to chill (below 10°C) and the leaves may start to blacken. Store basil in a bag and keep in a cool dark place.
How to use – Always rinse fresh herbs under cold, running water and pat dry with kitchen towel to remove excess water. When preparing basil tear the leaves as chopping with a knife may turn the edges black.