Basil Article -
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Basil, also called sweet basil, is the dried leaves of the herb Ocimum basilicum, a member of the mint family. Basil is a small, bushy plant that grows to about two feet tall. Its botanical name is derived from the Greek, "to be fragrant."


Basil is used in tomato sauces, pestos, pizzas, and cheeses. It is used in green Thai curry blend, bouquet garni, and Italian seasonings.


Although basil is cultivated worldwide, Egypt is the principal source, followed by the United States.


The early Romans made it a symbol of love and fertility. Through the centuries, it became a custom of young Italian suitors to wear a sprig of basil as a sign of their marital intentions.

botanical drawing, basil


    Uniform green color

    Flavor & Aroma

    Fragrantly sweet

    Sensory Profile

    Basil is characteristically tea-like, with green/grassy, hay-like and minty notes. It is slightly bitter and musty.

    dried basil leaves
      Nov. 15, 2009 12:24 am
      Was successful in growing basil from seed this year; saw on the net that you can put a sprig in water and it will root; it's true.
      Apr. 3, 2010 5:29 am
      Basil is expensive where we live, so I buy one very tall, healthy plant and snip each branch off and place them in PLAIN water. In 10 days, I have all the roots and plants I need for the season.
      Apr. 23, 2010 8:47 am
      great idea to "root" in plain H2O. going to get some long sprouting parts of plant before pinching the others back....thanks!
      Jul. 23, 2010 7:39 pm
      I love basil. Yum. It's actually really good on its own if you oven roast it with some olive oil and salt. I recommend this recipe with great pictures:
      Sep. 27, 2010 6:01 pm
      Hey gtfoodfashion, I tried the oven roasted basil leaves....very interesting. I like them! Thanks for sharing the link!
      Donna Burnett 
      Sep. 28, 2010 3:55 am
      Make sure not to let it flower, seems to change the taste of the leaves. It grows quite well in water for a long time, just make sure to change the water every couple of days, if the oxygen in the water is depleted, your rootlings will die.
      Sep. 28, 2010 9:27 am
      As an annual, Basil is really easy to grow in a container outside (sunny in morning, part shade in hottest part of afternoon,dont let dry out too much). Aussie basil is white and green with small leaves -- very productive! I like basil in toasted cheese sandwiches with tomato slices made with garlic bread. Good antioxidants too.
      Sep. 28, 2010 1:52 pm
      I have 3 different varieties of basil growing in my garden, italian, cinnamon (which smells awesome,like sweet cinnamon)and thai (smells a little like licorice).When I harvest them I dry them in my windodw seal in the kitchen, then when dried I crush them up all together to use. Very good in tomatoe dishes and on baked chicken.
      Sep. 29, 2010 7:23 am
      sometimes i will fry them in oil and place them on top of an entree for visual appeal (and flavor as well).
      Sep. 29, 2010 11:22 am
      When i have an overabundance of basil, or can buy it from a market real cheap, i take the leaves off, wash them,, pat them dry, then freeze them on a try.. once they are frozen i throw them in a ziplock bag.. then when you need them .. they are just like fresh.. much nicer than dried !!
      Sep. 30, 2010 5:25 pm
      I grew lemon, lime and Genovese basil from seed, this year. They are very easy to grow from seed or cuttings. You can also root fresh mint from the grocery store in water, if it's fresh enough. I started with about 5 sprigs and then took cuttings from them after they rooted. I ended up with an 18" pot overflowing with mint. Basil won't survive frost, so pot it up before cold weather and put in a bright sunny window or under lights - a 40 watt fluorscent bulb placed no more than 2" above the plant for 14 - 16 hours a day will keep it growing and healthy.
      Oct. 1, 2010 1:15 pm
      I use fresh basil and olive oil for a basil oil that I keep for sandwiches, salads and pasta. It's also nice when it's chopped finely into an heirloom salad. Who doesn't love basil?
      Oct. 2, 2010 1:10 pm
      I have a Basil plant that has been growing strong for 3+ years. It grows like a weed! I am constantly cutting it back and giving the clippings to friends. I keep it inside, on my kitchen counter, next to a window. I didn't know that the clippings could root simply by placing in water. I am going to try this. "While most common varieties of basil are treated as annuals, some are perennial in warm, tropical climates" Wikipedia
      Oct. 2, 2010 2:12 pm
      Last year I went to a restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina that had a basil salad. It was just made of basil leaves and some kind of minty tasting dressing. Very simple, but very impressive. I've been trying to re-create it, but I can't seem to get the dressing right.
      Oct. 2, 2010 11:41 pm
      It's important to note that there are several varieties of basil "sweet basil", "african basil", boxwood basil", thai basil" etc. Thai basil is by far my favorite.
      Oct. 3, 2010 8:57 am
      Try adding it in with your mixed salad greens - it's wonderful!
      Oct. 3, 2010 8:20 pm
      Basil actually derives its meaning from "basileus" the ancient Greek word for king. So basil is the king of the herbs.
      Oct. 13, 2010 6:56 am
      I agree that once you've tasted fresh basil, the dried just won't do. I grew some this summer and have picked some to try and continue growing in pots throughout the winter.
      Aunt Lala 
      Jan. 16, 2011 6:20 am
      Thanks to everyone for all this info on basil! Going to look for different varities and plant it in the spring.
      Aug. 23, 2011 4:26 pm
      Was lucky enough to find a beautiful combo container of Thai , Sweet and Boxwood this year ... have had more basil than I really know what to do with.
      Oct. 2, 2011 1:57 pm
      I am a newbie growing Basil, what do you use to prevent worms & grasshoppers indulging on your sweet basil? I have tried diluted soapy water, but have found to be a temp. fix. Please help!
      Nov. 28, 2011 12:44 pm
      Cori, never had that problem are you growing it in the garden? Try Potting it and put up on a sill or ledge, my plants are potted and grown around my deck railing in the summer. :) My only other suggestion is to grow inside. Also, I agree with Diana, Basil is the King of herbs. Definitely my favourite. LOVE the smell of fresh Basil in my kitchen let alone in almost everything I cook!
      Mar. 10, 2012 6:40 pm
      what is the conversion rate from fresh to dried, i.e., 1/4 cup equals how many t. and or T??
      Jul. 19, 2012 10:52 am
      When to use fresh, when to use dried?
      Sep. 22, 2012 11:52 am
      I grew three different kinds of basil this year and am just now getting ready to make a pesto. I like to mingle all three kinds. I have two green and a purple. And, if you do end up lrtting some of your plants flower, the flowers taste great as well as look great in or on dishes.
      Apr. 29, 2013 3:32 pm
      Basil is a fast-growing plant and is weather-resistant(so far). I planted some in my backyard and it does beautifully! Tastes just as great as the basil from the store, too!
      Jul. 16, 2013 12:08 pm
      I grow regular basil and sweet basil in my own garden.They both add so much flavor even with a small bit.It is a staple in Italian cooking.And since I love pasta, this herb is a need for my cooking.
      Jul. 16, 2013 6:57 pm
      we grow basil, and i use thru the season and dry so i have plenty all year.
      Jul. 18, 2013 4:26 pm
      We bought a nifty contraption called an Aerogarden from Amazon, and have had copious amounts of fresh basil since February! Since we live in western New York State and were under snow until April, it's pretty nice to have fresh herbs growing right in the dining room. We have loads frozen and the plants are still producing like crazy!
      Sep. 28, 2013 1:37 pm
      I grow scads of basil in betweenn the tomato plants to ward off their pests. I harvest the leaves, dry and then food process them with olive oil, salt and lemon juice (1TB juice per 4C leaves, 1/4 C oil 1t salt) scoop into baggie, belch out the air and freeze flat so you can chop a bit off as you need.
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