Basil is a staple in many ethnic cuisines for a variety of reasons. It has great flavor AND great health benefits. We are excited to offer Genovese basil, a type of sweet basil, to our local community. This type of basil is also known as Italian basil because it is frequently used in pesto and other Italian dishes.
Our basil generally takes about seven weeks to mature after seeding. To produce healthy basil, the plant needs to be kept warm and damp as well as exposed to light. Basil plants go through three different phases during its growing period.
Juvenile Stage – It is in this stage that a basil plant has the most leaves. Generally, it grows to about 12 inches tall.
Transition Stage – The number of leaves drop in this stage and the plant can grow through a few rounds of cutting. To get the most flavor, leaves should be picked before they hit the final stage. We harvest our basil during this stage to offer the freshest, most flavorful basil.
Productive Stage – It is during this is stage that flowers start to bloom, and the basil plant stops growing leaves. Basil flowers are usually either white or purple.
There are many creative ways to use basil. Try out some of these suggestions or let us know your favorite way to use basil in the comments below!
- Make pesto like the Italians! You can add pesto to pasta, sandwiches, paninis, or anything you’d like to experiment with.
- Add it to your drinks. You can throw some basil leaves into tea, water, smoothies, cocktails – you name it!
- Toss basil into your salad. Whether you are making a pasta salad or a salad with our Salanova® Spring Mix, basil adds great flavor and texture.
- Stir up some soup for one of these wintery days. Basil can be a great addition to either a tomato soup or any other kind of vegetable soup.
- Marinate your meat. Basil can be great herb to season your meat of choice in. Or you could wait until your meal has cooked and add fresh basil leaves at the end to add both aesthetic appeal and fresh flavoring.
If you want to find more recipes that use fresh basil, check out this blog post from the Food Network for some more great suggestions.
Interested in trying some of our fresh basil? Stop by Veg-e Systems to pick some up 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
P.S. Keep an eye out this week for more detailed posts on the health benefits of basil as well as some if this versatile plant’s history!