Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Basil Ocimum basilicum: Growing and Using Tips

Cindy Meredith was asked by Growing Basil to give a few growing hints for basil Ocimum basilicum.

Here is Cindy's response to "7 Expert Basil Growing Tips":

5. The Herb Cottage http://theherbcottage.com

The Herb Cottage is a great source for information about herb growing and gardening.

Cindy Meredith, it’s herb enthusiast, gave us some wonderful tips:

Q: Do you have any tips or suggestions to give beginners who are looking to grow basil for the first time?

Basil likes water, so make sure to keep it well watered. To keep your basil producing longer, harvest the leaves regularly. To harvest, cut or pinch a section of the stem then remove the leaves to use.

Q: When you’re not growing herbs.. what do you like to spend your time doing?

For relaxation, I read and solve crossword puzzles. I work in my garden, too.

Q: Have you got a favourite basil recipe?

One of my favorite ways to use basil is on sliced tomatoes. Slice tomatoes, homegrown are best, of course, drizzle with a little olive oil, add a dash of salt and pepper, then chop up some sweet basil and sprinkle on the tomatoes. Yum!

Q: Apart from Basil.. what is your favourite herb?

Rosemary, definitely. It has such a great flavor on potatoes, with chicken, pork, salmon. And, it’s so easy to grow here in Texas. It makes a great landscape plant, too.

Check out Cindy’s highly informative webpage on basil:


And here is more information about basil provided by the British Herb Society.

And here is one of my favorite basil recipes!

--4 cups (8 to 10) tomatoes chopped or 4 cups canned whole tomatoes
--4 cups tomato juice or V-8 juice (you can use spicy if you like a little heat)
--1/4 cup finely cut sweet yellow onion
--2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
--12-14 washed & dried basil leaves, chiffonade
--1 cup heavy whipping cream
--1/2 cup butter (1 whole stick)
--Kosher Salt
--Freshly ground white & black Pepper

Combine tomatoes, juice, onion and garlic in a large pan and simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Add basil, cream and butter and continue to heat over low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Serve with hot crusty French bread. Enjoy!

Great Gardening!

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