Growing Culinary Herbs- Basil
Herbs bring even the simplest foods to life and because so many of the frequently used culinary herbs are easy to grow, you can not only cook with fresh herbs but grow them as well.
Herbs like containers and many can be grown indoors or out which means that you could put a few of your favourites in a container near your kitchen and just step outside and reap the harvest when needed or start an indoor herb garden and cut your steps down even more.
Basil is one of the best known and most commonly used herbs. There is a wide variety of basil and you will certainly find out to match your cooking preferences.
Sweet Basil is used to make pesto and tomato sauce. In fact, you can grow tomatoes and basil in the same container. Always remember that plants that are grown in containers may need more water than plants planted directly into the soil, so check them often.
However, if you do not want to grow tomatoes, basil is a very easy plant to grow. It loves the sun and enjoys a good drink, of water that is.
Basil is best grown outdoors but I have had luck growing them inside. I do find that the indoor basil is not as flavourful as the plants grown outside.
Basil is a must for tomato sauce but I make a chicken-sweet potato stew that simply cries out for basil.
Bob’s Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew:
1 medium sweet potato diced
1 chicken breast
1 medium onion, diced
1 glove garlic sliced (more if you like)
Sea salt & black pepper to taste
3 fresh basil ieaves
Crushed chilies to taste
2 cups water
1 large carrot sliced
¼ cup red lentils (dry)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
- Add olive oil to pot
- put in lentils, onions and garlic
- cook until onions brown
- add chilies
- add water and chicken
- cook 20 minutes
- add carrots and sweet potatoes
- cook 20 minutes
- add basil leaves
- add tomato paste
- Cook 25 minutes.
Serve and enjoy.
You can readily grow basil from seeds and I have had some good luck by propagating them from clippings. In the past I was able to start 15 basil plants all from clipping s from the original plat. This way I have more than enough fresh basil for my personal use and was able to give away both leaves and plants to friends.
These plants were all grown indoors but they were in a window alcove that received approximately eight hours of sunlight per day. As I said earlier they did the job but did not quite have the zip that the plants I grew outside.
What they did bring was that wonderful basil smell what you touch the leaves lightly.
So if you enjoy, stews, pesto and pasta when you grow your own basil you will have an ample supply of this majestic herb right at hand and it does not get any fresher than that.