Different Types Of Basil
Last post I promised that I would talk about the different types of basil and how to use them. Nowdays there are many more flavors of basil than just sweet. One of the most popular is lemon basil.
Lemon basil has a delicate flavor, distinctly lemon with a hint of basil spiciness. It is not as robust, nor does it grow as large or with as big of leaves as sweet basil. The essential oil that creates the lemony flavor is easily destroyed with high temperature cooking, so it is best to add lemon basil at the end of the cooking cycle, except in baking when it cannot be added at the end. Lemon basil is excellent in raw dishes, too, especially salads and in salad dressing.
Low temperature dehydrating is a must for this type of basil in order to retain its delicate lemony taste.
Next is licorice basil. It is distinctly licorice with a strong basil spiciness, too. It is a smaller plant and leaf, as well. It is delicious in both cooked and raw dishes. It’s flavor is robust and strong and not easily damaged with cooking. It is excellent on pizzas in place of or combination with sweet basil.
Dry it the same way you would sweet basil.
Cinnamon basil has a sweet cinnamony pungence with sweet basil overtones. It also is a smaller plant and leaf than sweet basil. It holds it flavor well in cooking and can be used in raw dishes as well.
Dry it like sweet basil.
Holy basil. This basil has a very distinct flavor. The plant is smaller with smaller leaves than sweet basil. The leaves and stems are slightly hairy. I’ve only used holy basil for tea, so don’t know if it works well in cooking or raw preparations.
It dries excellently and is a prolific self-seeder in this area (zone 7a).
All basils are best if cut and dried before flowers set, but that can be hard, especially with holy basil, which seems to blossom almost from day one.
More basils next time. (Yes there are even more to choose from.)