Genus and Species: Ocimum basilicum
Common Name: Sweet basil, and many varieties such as cinnamon basil (see photo), licorice, lettuce leaf, lime, etc.
Lifespan: Tender Annual
Growing Conditions: basil is very frost tender and needs to be planted out after all danger of frost is gone and warm temperatures are prevalent. To get a jump start on the season, I plant the seeds indoors and I usually put a cloche over the basil bed and sometimes I leave it on all summer if we are having a wet summer. Basil grows best in well drained soil in full sun. and I pinch the growth back to en-courage more branching.
Propagation: grows easily from seed
Parts used: leaves and flower tops
Harvest: before flowering otherwise the plant will stop producing leaves
Preparation: I use fresh leaves in pesto, as a garnish for tomatoes, infused in vinegar, fresh or dried in spagetti sauce and other dishes. I also puree fresh basil leaves in a little olive oil or water(depending on the recipe I will be using it for) and put in ice cube trays; then I transfer them to bags or containers for storing in the freezer. When you want some basil for a recipe, just pop in one or two cubes. I also dry some for the kitchen and I find my homegrown home dried basil keeps most of its volatile oils.
Cinnamon Basil Plant