Basil - Verstegen Algemeen

Basil

Basil is a plant of the mint family. Only the leaves are used for dishes. Basil plants grow about 45 cm high and 30 cm wide. The stems of the plant are hairy and the leaves are large, (slightly) serrated, oval-pointed with a fresh, bright green colour. The leaves can reach a length of 7 cm. The basil plant blooms in late summer with small whitish flowers.

Origin of basil

Basil originates from the mild tropic regions around South Asia. For a long time the plant has also been growing in Southern Europe and North Africa, mainly along the Mediterranean Sea. Verstegen gets their herbs and spices at the places of origin, that is why our basil comes from Egypt.

Smell and taste of basil

In general basil has a spicy taste with a sweet aroma. The typical taste of basil is slightly acidic and laurel-like with a peppery aftertaste. Characteristic for basil is its smell which is similar to clove and aniseed. The growing conditions and the stage of harvest interact with the smell and taste of basil. Young leaves generally have more flavour than older mature leaves. The mature leaves are richer in tarragon and clove nuances, the younger leaves are more like eucalyptus. When it is fresh, this herb has the most flavour.

Basil in dishes

Basil is much used in Italian (e.g. pesto) and Thai cuisine. Fresh basil is the main ingredient of Italian pesto alla Genovese. It is also important in Neapolitan Caprese salad. In dried form, basil is an important component of the Italian herbal mix. The Asian cuisine uses basil in curries or spicy stir-fry dishes.