Basil-the noble herb
Latin name: Ocimum basilicum
Common names: Basil, Sweet
Basil, Royal herb
A member of the mint family, perhaps
no other herb is more closely related to the Italians than is basil. The symbol of
love, it is given by a lover to their loved one as
a token of their fidelity. The poet, Keats, wrote a tragic love story entitled
"The Pot of Basil".
In India the basil plant is revered
as sacred and the Hindus plant a pot of basil as a symbol of reverence for their
dead. Originating in the region of Greece and Italy, it found its way to North
America as early as the 1600s being cultivated in Newfoundland.
Basil is a very hardy annual and will
grow in practically all climates. Most popular for growing in pots on the
window-sill is the Italian Basil (Ocimum crispum) with light green leaves. The tall
varieties will grow to over 2' (60 cm) in height and width with delicate white flowers
growing in spikes. Basil may be planted in the ground after all danger of frost is
past. Basil enjoys dry, well drained soil with plenty of sun. Plant seeds to a
depth of 1/2 inch. Germination takes only 7 days and the plant will grow rather
Primarily thought of as an ingredient
to tomato recipes, basil can be eaten either fresh or cooked. Cut basil into strips
and embellish a tomato cut in half with these strips, a little mozzarella cheese and
balsamic vinegar with olive oil drizzled over it all is a wonderful appetizer (Capri
Comments from Your Host,
I enjoy using basil, quite often.
Paul and I even named our boy cat Basil (his sister is Sage, cute no?). I keep fresh
basil on hand all the time for my sauces or just to put into a fresh salad (tear the
leaves; don't cut).
Recipes using Basil:
Pepper and Basil Jelly
Know someone who
would appreciate this?