Basil is an amazing aromatic and flavorful herb – these easy tips on how to grow basil will inspire you to add it to many recipes. It is a staple in Mediterranean dishes and can add a dash of flavor to anything savory. It also pairs amazingly with oregano and tomatoes. The perfect addition to nearly any Italian dish from pasta to pizza. From adding to your favorite soups to making a flavor-packed pesto basil is sure to be your new best friend.
How to grow basil
Basil is a beautiful leafy green herb that does well in pots or can be used to line garden beds even in highly visible areas to add style with an edible finish. Plant alongside your tomatoes in the vegetable garden to give them more flavor. Basil makes a great herb to get you started with your own herb garden.
Plant 16-24 inches apart to leave plenty of room for growth. Water basil well, if you live in a dry climate be sure to use plenty of mulch to keep the soil around your basil from drying out. Remember to trim out flower heads when they appear for basil will lose its flavor for culinary uses. Do not use fertilizers or plant near cars and roadways. Harvest regularly to help your plant thrive and be sure to get one last harvest before the weather turns cold.
How to grow basil indoors
Lots of sun…basil loves the sun and needs a full sun location with about 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. If growing indoors use a south-facing window or a grow bulb to allow your basil to flourish. Basil likes warmth. Small plants should be transplanted into the ground after all risk of frost has passed. If you live in a cooler claimant it is best to start with seedlings rather than direct sew. Start seeds 6 weeks before the last frost and move to the ground after the soil has reached at least 50 degrees.
Basil is part of the mint family and has several varieties including common sweet basil, purple basil (with a less sweet flavor), lemon basil (with hints of lemon flavor perfect for fish and poultry dishes), and Thai basil (with a distinct licorice flavor). If you like to experiment with herbs and flavors you may want to try more than one variety.
Using basil in the kitchen
Basil is packed with a distinct flavor found in nearly any savory dish, often favored in Italian dishes. Basil can be dried and crushed for easy sprinkling on to food all year round. The most flavor can be found in fresh basil.
It can be used to make traditional fresh pesto. Add basil, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and anything else you would like together and run through your blender for a quick and easy condiment or even sauces for pasta. It is really good with a little parmesan and romano cheese blended in.
Infuse olive oil with fresh basil for everyday cooking or mix with vinegar for a tasty salad dressing. Infuse butter with basil to saute vegetables with or whip up scrambled eggs. Basil is the perfect addition to melted butter to serve with Italian breadsticks. Freeze this butter in an ice cube tray for ready to go fresh basil flavor.
Basil can be used fresh and whole in salads or added to your favorite grilled chicken wraps. Basil pairs well with spinach, tomatoes, and mozzarella for nearly endless options. Pair a bit of toasted bread with a chunk of mozzarella, a leaf of basil, and a bit of tomato for a simple and tasty Italian inspired snack or appetizer.
Basil is essential for your favorite Italian dishes from marinara sauce to full leaves placed upon pizza before baking. When making homemade sausage it adds a great flavor. Basil may surprise you with its versatility. The Italian desert basil – lemon granita combines basil, lemons, and sugar into a simple chilled dessert.
Here are some of my favorite basil recipes: