Basil is a rockstar in the kitchen that deserves a spot in every herb garden.
Popular examples include Genovese, lemon, lime, purple, and Thai. Genovese is the most popular basil variety. Grow and experiment with several varieties each season!
This annual is easy to grow from seed and will benefit from the frequent harvest.
Once your basil plants have grown to be about 12 inches tall, pinch off the top leaves about an inch or two above the second set of leaves. This will encourage the plant to grow into a shorter bushy shape rather than becoming long and leggy. Plant basil in full sun (6-8 hours daily is ideal). Provide afternoon shade in warmer regions.
Basil likes rich, well-drained soil. So water frequently, but don't let their roots stay super wet.
Storing and Using Fresh Basil
A staple throughout Italy, basil is best used fresh. Just pinch the leaves from the stems and add to pizza, pasta sauces, or salads.
Trim the basil stem ends for larger harvests and place them like fresh flowers in water. Then, put it in direct sun. A common mistake is to store basil leaves cuttings in the refrigerator because they will turn brown.
Fresh basil is best added to cooked dishes when you are almost finished because cooking will diminish its wonderful flavor and vibrant color.
Related: Herb Conversion: A Guide to Converting Fresh to Dried Herbs
To enjoy basil all winter, turn basil leaves into pesto or preserve it in ice cube trays and top with extra olive oil, then freeze and use 1-2 cubes as a flavor booster.
Easy Basil Recipes
Add a kick to your summer gardens with fresh basil. Pinch off a few leaves and you're ready to go! Toss it with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella or your favorite greens for a fast and flavorful dinner.
Some people swear by it as the food of love. Whether that's true or not, you can't deny the heavenly taste of this almond basil pesto.
Made from basil, almonds, parmesan cheese, and extra-virgin olive oil, pesto is a sauce traditionally used to take the edge off a hardy Italian meal. How to make it
Making your own basil-infused vodka is easy and affordable; all you need is a clear glass jar, vodka, a selection of fresh herbs, and some patience!
Once you make this basil vodka gimlet recipe, you’ll want to make it all summer long. This is one of my favorite cocktails with vodka because of the freshness of the basil and the brightness of the lime.
Plus, making your own infused vodka is super easy so you can have a bottle in your freezer at all times!
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