Different Types of Basil are the topic we are here to discuss! If you consider yourself a cook and food connoisseur, then basil is one of those herbs that are always on hand in your kitchen, and did you know there are many different types of basil?
That’s right, basil has at least over twenty versions to it, and here you’ll learn all about its unique characteristics.
Basil is a herb that is specifically used to enhance the flavor in numerous dishes and recipes across different cuisines, and it plays a bigger role in Mediterranean and Italian dishes. It can be used in many ways, including garnishing, as a topping for pizzas, blended into a sauce, chopped into a salad, pureed into soups, and even whole basil leaves can be consumed!
Basil is pretty versatile; it does well in savory dishes and can be added to your favorite ice cream! A couple of smashed basil leaves also go fantastic in your cocktail.
Want to know more? Get your basil game to the next level and learn about all the different types of basil and how to make the best out of your basil needs at home.
Types Of Basil
Basil belongs to the mint family; this herb has been around for ages and is widely known for amplifying the taste of your food.
Besides its service to the culinary world, basil also has minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that greatly benefit our health. Find out which are the different types of basil.
African Blue Basil
This type of basil has multiple uses, as it can be eaten and served as a decorative plant. It is easily noticeable because it can grow up to four feet tall, making it one of the tallest variations. You can try it in meat recipes, rice dishes, and veggies if you want to eat it.
Ararat is a captivating plant that can easily enhance any flower bouquet with its purple leaves and flowers. Its taste is compared to licorice, so it’s somewhat sweet, adding a surprising flavor to your recipes.
With stunning reddish-maroon flowers, Cardinal basil is easily spotted, and thanks to its touch of spice, it is ideal to utilize in oily salad dressings.
The fruity taste of Christmas basil can be enjoyed in many dishes and drinks. This plant is also on the tall side and has pretty purple flowers.
This type of basil offers a delightful scent and is not only pretty to look at in arrangements, but it also goes great as a garnish in fruit dishes, providing a spicy flavor. This type can be found at your local store or nursery.
Dark Opal Basil
This type of basil has a lovely deep purple color and is both lovely and flavorful. It makes a great addition in your kitchen and home garden.
This type of sweet basil goes great in pesto and tons of Italian recipes. It has a distinct scent and is more pointy and flat than other types.
Greek basil might be only eight inches tall, but it can intensify many dishes; this type of basil goes great in meat dishes, salads, and even soups. If your plate lacks presentation, you can also use Greek basil as a garnishing touch.
Green Ruffles Basil
This type of basil has a mild taste and is ideal for salads and pasta dishes. It gets its name due to its pretty green ruffled leaves.
Holy basil gets its name because it has fantastic taste and is also fantastic for our immune system; its nutrients provide tons of benefits, and it’s best consumed in tea.
Italian Large Leaf Basil
This type of basil is highly recommended for those with a sweet tooth. Italian large leaf basil is a lot sweeter than other types, making it perfect for sweet recipes.
Lemon basil has a similar appearance to regular basil; the difference is its lemony taste. This flexible type of basil can enhance tons of dishes and drinks. Use it to make iced tea or in fish dishes and salads.
Lettuce Leaf Basil
This is another variety of sweet basil with the appearance of a lettuce head. It has a unique taste and is usually utilized in pesto recipes or oil for bread dipping.
Lime comes in handy for most of your fish and chicken recipes; as the name indicates, it contains a fantastic lime flavor that is also suitable for your iced tea or cocktails, such as a margarita.
This type of basil offers a spicy kick, fitting for pesto and any dish that requires sweet basil. It also has a light anise-taste which goes well in soups, dressings, marinades, and you can use Napoletano in cooked and raw dishes.
Purple Ruffles Basil
This basil type is often compared to the Dark Opal basil; however, it has big green ruffled leaves with purple stripes instead of straight purple leaves. It is commonly used as a garnishing touch.
Spicy Bush Basil
This type of basil resembles a small bush when ready to be harvested, but it still packs many flavors regardless of its compact size. Try adding it to various soups and sauces; as with other types of basil, a little bit goes a long way.
Spicy Globe Basil
Spicy Globe Basil once called the king of herbs, is just a bit spice and just right in salads, pasta, or soups. It gets its name because it is one of the smallest types, and it grows in resembling a globe form.
Summerlong is good to be used after one or two months since planting. It is ideal for growing in containers because of its small size. It is a great addition to all your Italian dishes.
Sweet basil is considered a flexible type of basil, suitable for Italian dishes and all your cooking purposes due to its flavor. It is easy to grow, and it blooms in a sunny climate.
Sweet Thais Basil
This type of basil is perhaps the least known of all types; since it is pretty spicy, it is limited to this particular type of taste.
How To Keep Basil Fresh?
If you wish to keep your basil fresh, remember that this widely used kitchen herb is a plant; like any plant, it needs certain conditions to stay fresh and not whither.
Unlike other cooking herbs, like cilantro, spinach, Oregano, or parsley, Basil doesn’t do well in your fridge because refrigeration can turn the leaves black. Unfortunately, basil wilts quickly, so you’d want to keep your fresh basil at room temperature instead. The fresher the basil you get from your market, the longer it will last with the proper storage methods.
How To Store Basil So It Stays Fresh For Longer?
To keep basil fresh for up to a week, follow these simple steps:
- Clip the stems and transfer them in a glass of water, just as you would with flowers
- Cover your basil loosely with a plastic bag
- Place your basil jar on the counter.
There’s a second storing technique you can use to store basil:
- Pick the leaves off the stems and wash the basil gently in running water
- Dry it out using a salad spinner
- Lay the leaves in how many layers of paper towel you consider fitting to absorb the remaining moisture.
- Roll up the paper towel around the leaves
- Place the basil roll in a plastic bag
Can You Freeze Basil?
If you wish to keep basil for an extended period, you might as well freeze it, and you can have basil for up to a year.
Here are two ways how to freeze basil:
Freezing Basil Method 1
- Blanch the basil in boiling salt water for 15 seconds
- Drain it
- Soak in ice water
- Turn it into a puree in a blender with a bit of olive oil
- Pour the purée in ice cubes trays and freeze them,
- Once completely solid, transfer the cubes into freezer bags
Freezing Basil Method 2
- Lay clean and dried basil leaves on a baking sheet
- Place the baking sheet inside the freezer until frozen
- Transfer your basil into plastic bags
Making it into a puree is a lot more recommendable because it retains much more flavor.
What To Do With Different Types of Basil Before It Goes Bad?
Once your basil becomes discolored and presents a damp texture and bad smell, you should probably eliminate it.
But before it goes bad, you can use it in many different dishes; check out some of our favorite basil recipes below.
How To Harvest Basil?
To learn How to harvest basil, start by finding a mature plant and looking for fully grown leaves. Then, take a sharp pair of scissors and cut the stem just above the second set of leaves from the top.
It is essential to avoid cutting too much of the plant, leaving at least two leaves on each stem.
Additionally, try to cut the plants early in the morning before the sun gets too hot. This helps to ensure that the basil’s flavor and aroma are at their peak.
Finally, gently wash the leaves under running water and pat them dry before use.
Final Thoughts On The Different Types Of Basil
Basil is a versatile and flavorful herb that can bring a new dimension to any dish.
Whether you prefer sweet and mild Genovese basil or the spicier and aromatic Thai basil, there are many different basil types.
Each type has its unique flavor and aroma, making it suitable for use in different cuisines and dishes. So next time you’re at the store, don’t be afraid to experiment and try a new type of basil to enhance your meals.