9 Weird and Wonderful Types of Basil
Basil is a staple in any herb-lover’s garden. The most common type is sweet, which can be used in various ways. But we love to experiment with some more exotic types of basil. At Íko, we’ve grown several kinds in our prototypes, and have been thrilled to find they have unique flavors and fragrances. So if you’re a basil-lover like we are, here are a few more types that you may not have tried:
1. Genovese Basil
Genovese basil, the other most common type, is infinite in its uses. It is an Italian basil, but is delicious in most any meal, in Italy and beyond. You can blend up some Genovese basil and make a tasty pesto, or put some leaves in hot water for a flavorful tea.
2. Purple Basil
Purple basil, most often used as an embellishment on a dish, has a flavor that is quite similar to that of regular basil. One defining feature is the rich purple color of the entire plant, including both the leaves and stems. This type of basil is a beautiful addition in drinks like lemonade and juice. The strong fragrance and brilliant color will immediately draw attention to the herbs, and will transform your meal or drink into a work of art.
3. Cinnamon Basil
Cinnamon basil, delicious and aromatic in desserts, contains a chemical called methyl cinnamate, which gives it that warm flavor. It is also known as Mexican basil, and has dark green and shiny leaves. We like to blend up some cinnamon basil and put it on rice pudding, or you could dry this herb out and use it in potpourri because of its strong, barky aroma.
4. Holy Basil
Holy basil, a natural antioxidant known for its medicinal properties, is also called Tulsi and is traditionally from India. In Hindu culture, it is considered a sacred plant, and is often planted around shrines and monuments. It is a perennial (different from the more common basil), and this strongly scented herb can used to reduce stress or relieve headaches.
5. Lemon Basil
Lemon basil, delicious when eaten raw in a salad, is a hybrid type of basil, primarily grown in northeastern Africa and southern Asia. It is used in many dishes from Thailand and Malaysia. As the name suggests, this type has a citrus flavor and sweet aroma. It differs from lemon balm, which is part of the mint family, because it still has that traditional savory-basil taste to it.
6. African Blue Basil
African Blue basil, used in skin care products because of its high content of camphor, is another type of perennial basil. It is a hybrid of East African basil with the garden variety called Dark Opal. The leaves of this basil start off as deep bluish purple, but turn bright green as they mature. We like to put the African Blue basil plant right on the dinner table, and pick the leaves off as we eat. It looks gorgeous, so it acts as a decoration too.
7. Spicy Globe Basil
Spicy Globe basil, used to add a fiery hint in any dish, is shaped like a spherical bush (hence the name). It has smaller leaves than the more common types of basil, and this hybrid has both a savory and zesty flavor.
8. Licorice Basil
Licorice basil, a healthy alternative to licorice candy, has an intense anise flavor. The leaves of this variety are slightly pointed, and the plant is native to India and ancient Persia. With a little bit of honey and some hot water, a cup of licorice basil tea could be the delicious replacement for anyone with a sweet tooth.
9. Dwarf Greek Basil
Dwarf Greek basil, interestingly used an an insect repellent, has very small leaves, and also grows into a spherical shaped bush. It is also called bush basil, and has a savory flavor. Since this type of basil has such small leaves, it is easily dried and tastes excellent sprinkled on garlic bread or in a soup or stew.
At Íko, we’re eager to be part of the movement toward artisan cooking, and the growing desire to experiment with exotic and delicious culinary herbs. It coincides with our passions of nature integrated into design, and design as art. There are so many unique and flavorful varieties of basil that you can grow in your Íko one day. Soon, you’ll have the opportunity to grow many other rare herbs and incorporate them into your health routine and lifestyle. And basil is just the start.
Read More Here:
Why Everyone Should Eat Basil
Tusli: An Herb for all Reasons (National Center for Biotechnology Information)