Basil – every cook’s must-have herb
Fresh basil is a staple ingredient in all good kitchens. Today we introduce our favourite potted herb and reveal how to get the very best out of it.
Our parents’ generation went wild for a fresh bunch of parsley but nowadays the “herbe du jour” is basil. And no wonder. A couple of basil’s bright green leaves add a fresh edge to even the simplest dish with a flavour that compliments every recipe. Our Vapianisti are always happy to include basil in your dish and there’s even a fresh pot on every table so you can add more if you wish. Our latest Specials also feature basil in a range of recipes.
Fresh basil and a splash of olive oil are all it takes to transform tomato and mozzarella into a traditional Caprese salad. Basil’s essential oils also give drinks a unique twist.
Harvest at home
This aromatic herb needs fresh earth to survive, meaning it soon wilts after being cut. Although basil can be dried the trademark aroma is best preserved in oil, chopped up in pesto or mixed with nuts or parmesan.
Don’t worry if you find yourself binning your basil pot after a week because you’ve used all the leaves. It’s not your gardening skills letting you down. Most shop sold herbs are meant only for cooking and not for sitting on your windowsill looking pretty! Get the best out of your plant by watering little and often, and harvesting whole sprigs instead of individual leaves.
More time on your hands? Keep basil seeds moist at room temperature and they should sprout after a week. You can then choose to eat the fresh sprouts or plant them so you can grow your own basil. Both options taste great!
BTW – basil isn’t limited to savoury dishes as our range of new summer drinks prove. Try a refreshing glass and see for yourself just how good our “home-grown herb” tastes in a beverage!