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Basil — Sweet, Savory, Stunning!

  • Written by Molbak's garden + home

When someone says “basil,” what comes to mind? Starts with “p,” ends with “o”?

Basil isn’t just for pesto anymore! A tasty staple of Italian and Asian cuisine, this versatile and easy-care herb is breaking new culinary ground. Gourmets are adding basil’s unique flavors (both foliage and flowers) to frozen desserts, cocktails and even baked goods. Plus, a number of new varieties are available to dazzle the eye and tempt the palate, making this classic herb not only an edible but colorful ornamental and cut flower as well.

BASILLooking for classic basil flavor? “Genovese” is the answer. (Photo courtesy of Molbak’s)Growing basil is easy. In the ground, or in containers, just find a spot with full sun and plant away. Pinch often to encourage bushiness and new leaf production. You’ll find the hardest thing about growing basil is deciding which varieties to grow.

Looking for classic basil flavor? “Genovese” has extra-large leaves, making it a great choice for pesto, salads and pasta. “Sweet” basil, with its petite leaves, is a gourmet basic for pesto, infused oils and drying. “Pesto Perpetuo” and “Giant Smooth Italian” both have the bold, robust taste associated with Italian cuisine.

Perhaps you’d like to experiment with some other flavors. “Mrs. Burns Lemon” basil has citrus overtones, ideal for seafood, desserts and cocktails. “Cinnamon” basil with its pink blooms and red stems weaves a spicy-sweet flavor that enhances fruit and Asian dishes, and “Thai Siam Queen” has a hint of licorice and cinnamon that works with Asian favorites.

In addition to the traditional green, you can grow bolder-colored varieties. “African Blue” has tasty pink flowers and leaves accented in purple, great for salads, drinks and garnishes. “Black Amethyst” and “Crimson King” have intense basil flavor and purple-black leaves that add contrast, and “Purple Ruffles” basil’s puckered leaves bring a touch of tasty texture.

So indulge yourself, your garden and your culinary creations with a collection of basil as beautiful as it is flavorful. At Molbak’s we carry a wide selection of basil and other herbs to decorate your garden and your table.

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