Homegrown Basil

In my Kitchen Garden this year 3 different kinds of Basil are growing. All the varieties of Basils are a fragrant herbs and they belong to the same family Lamiaceae, like mint. Basil is a summer plant and it likes heat. You can plant them in sunny area. Here are pictures and an introduction of the three basil growing in our garden.

  1. Tulsi, also known as holy basil or Indian Basil. The Indian Tulsi, holy basil is considered as thousands of year old herb. It is an Ayurvedic herb and has medicinal importance. For thousands of years it’s been used in India to cure many diseases. Indian Basil has small leaves and it is pungent in taste. Here is a picture of Indian tulsi.
homegrown indian tulsi, holy basil
Homegrown Indian Tulsi, Holy Basil
  1. Sweet Basil, also known Italian basil. It is a fragrant herb used extensively for Italian cooking. Italian basil has much bigger leaves then tulsi or Thai basil.
homegrown italian basil
Homegrown Italian Basil
  1. And third one is Thai Basil. Thai basil is closer to Indian basil in looks and apperance but it is very different in taste.
homegrown thai basil
Homegrown Thai Basil

How to Grow Basil

Basil can be easily grown at home. You can start by the basil seeds or can plant a baby plant directly. Basil seeds as well as plants can be easily found in most of the nurseries in spring season. One can plant basil in the ground or it can also be planted in the pots. Basil is a summer plant and it cannot tolerate even a light frost. So if you live in a cold place harvest basil before the cold weather approaches or move your basil inside before the frost.

homegrown italian basil
Homegrown Italian Basil

We had planted 1 Itlian basil plant in the ground and 2 plants in the pot this year. The one which was planted in the ground grew way faster than the pot one beacuse in the ground the roots have more room to spread. The basil can be plucked from top as it regrows very fast. We have plucked the basil leaves many times in this season from top and it kept growing. It grew so fast that I have already frozen two small bags of italian basil. I still have a lots of Basil. This time I thought rather than freezing I will dry some basil leaves.

How to Freeze Basil

  1. Remove the thick stem and wash the basil leaves thoroughly. Leave the leaves on the sieve to drain the water. When extra water is drained spread the leaves on a clean towel.
  2. Wipe the basil leaves with a clean cloth.
  3. Take a zoplock bag. Write down the date and herbs name . Now keep the pat dry leaves in the ziplock bag. Remove the extra air from the bag and zip lock it. Store it in the freezer.
  4. I forgot to take the picture of bazil bags. Following pic shows mint ready to freeze.

How to Sun dry Basil at Home

  1. Remove the thick stem and wash the basil leaves thoroughly. Leave the leaves on the sieve to drain the water. On a clean cloth or paper spread the leaves to remove any water drops it may have.
  2. Wipe the basil leaves aga with a clean cloth and spread it on the kitchen towel.
  3. Let it dry in the shade. If weather is warm it takes a day to dry the leaves.
  4. Store dried basil leaves in the airtight container. You can store the whole leaves or you can crush the leaves.
 mint leaves ready to freeze

How to Dry Basil in the Microwave

  1. Remove the thick stem and wash the basil leaves thoroughly. Leave the leaves on the sieve to drain the water. On a clean cloth or paper spread the leaves to remove any water drops it may have.
 basil leaves
After removing the thick stems of Italian basil
  1. Once the extra water is removed you can dry basil in the microwave. In order to dry basil in the microwave make sure that there in no moister on top of leaves. if there is any moister in the leaves then instead of drying they will get cooked.
  2. To dry leaves in the microwave- take a microwave safe plate. Put a kitchen paper on top of the plate. Now spread a layer of leaves. Cover it with other kitchen paper. Put it in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  3. Remove the plate from microwave. Remove the top kitchen paper and let the steam go.
  4. Cover basil leaves with kitchen oaper and put it back for 30 seconds.
home dried basil
After dryng Italian basil in the microwave for 90 seconds
    1. Check the leaves. If needed repeat the process. It takes about 2 minutes to dry the leaves.
    2. Store dried basil leaves in the airtight container. You can store the whole leaves or you can crush the leaves.
    home dried basil
    dried and crushed Italian basil
    1. Use dried basil leaves as needed. Baisl is used a lot in Italian delicacies. Here are some recipes where you can use basil leaves.

    Some Tips and Suggestions-

    You can dry other herbs by using this method. I dry almost all the herbs I grow in my kitchen garden. In Indian herbs, I mostly grow Coriander, mint, mustard greens, methi, tulsi etc. I also grow Italian Basil, thai basil, oregano, rosemary etc.

    Some Italian Delicacies