Basil (Ocimum Basilicum) is a genus belonging to the labiate family (Labiatae or Lamiaceae). The name Basil comes from the Greek word ‘basileus’, meaning king or royal. Basil therefore also goes by the name of ‘king of herbs’. Basil is a fairly vulnerable annual that thrives in a warm, highly sheltered and sunny spot. Indoors, the plant feels perfectly comfortable when given a light spot. Basilicum Floral Spices is a strong variety consisting of pretty flowers and leaves.
Basil originates from Asia and South America. Basil has been cultivated in the south of France since the 12th century.
Basil has many uses and is a popular herb in Italian cuisine, but also plays a big part in South Asian and French cooking. Basil is the seasoning ingredient for pesto and is also used in tomato and egg dishes, soups, sauces and with fish, meat, fowl, rabbit, liver, vegetables and cheese. Basil ice cream (homemade) is very tasty too! One of the best-known dishes containing basil is Caprese salad (mozzarella, tomato, basil). Fresh basil is best added at the end of the food preparation process. When heating fresh basil it loses much of its flavour. However, that does not apply to dried basil, which can easily be included earlier in the cooking process.
Basil has a strong, recognizable scent. The flavour of basil leaf is unique and strong with a hint of aniseed.
Less known are the delicious basil flowers, which have the same aroma as the leaf, but are a little bit sweeter.
Tip: the basil that is sold in stores has been freeze-dried. Drying your own basil leaves in a hot, airy space is not recommended, as this causes basil to lose nearly all of its flavour. Freezing is the best way to preserve it.