Botanical name: Ocimum basilicum
Some other names: Basil, St Joseph’s wort
How to grow it:
Sweet Basil basil can be a biennial in warmer areas though is probably better planted as an annual. The bush can get quite large and leaves become a less tender if the plant isn’t regularly pruned and flowers removed.
Prefers full sun but will handle a little shade, moist, well drained soil. Doesn’t handle drought or frost well – keep it well watered for best results.
Great plant to grow in a pot – you can move it to shelter it in the cooler months and get a longer harvest.
Propogation is generally by seed, though I prefer to buy seedlings in spring. If you allow a plant to go to seed, you’ll find it popping up all around your garden.
Sweet basil contains vitamins A, B & C and volatile oils that have many herbal actions. High in calcium, magnesium, zinc & copper.
Regular consumption of basil is thought to strengthen your immune system.
In the kitchen
As most every cook knows, basil has a special synergy with garlic & tomatoes and is therefore essential in many italian dishes, though can be used much more widely.
Use it in eggs dishes, soups, casseroles, salads and rice dishes. Best added towards the end of cooking to preserve the flavour.
Also makes a delicious and nutritious tea – combines well with many other tea herbs.