Little joys

Basil. Such a common culinary ingredient.
I used to buy them in the grocery store, in Saran wrapped trays with the usual white bar code stickers.
I was too busy being busy at my job, it never crossed my mind to grow them. So I’d toss those trays into the grocery cart, not realizing what joy it would be to grow them in my garden!
At one point I had basil in a pot in the backyard. Can’t even remember where it came from.
Our golden retriever must have loved the smell… He ate all the leaves and the plant died!

Now, I love growing plants from seeds. So I didn’t just go to a nursery and buy a pot. I tried to germinate 3 kinds!

Genovese Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is my healthiest looking basil. Large-leafed and so fragrant with just a brush of my sun dress against the leaves!
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This is supposed to be the best for pesto but I have yet to try. I’m still fattening them up!
I’ve had them for breakfast though, in egg white omelette with tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. Being a carnivore, I wasn’t excited at all. But it was so good and felt so healthy!
Just today, we had spaghetti for lunch. The meat sauce looked boring so I stepped out and snipped a few leaves… Voila! Yummy spaghetti!

Opal Basil (O. basilicum purpurascens) is my most ornamental-looking basil.
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I love the purple contrasting with the greens. They should be darker purple but mine tend to wilt in direct sun. Though I planted one on the ground in a sunny spot and it seems to be surviving, with more purple leaves!
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This should be great for salads, adding a pop of deep purple amongst the greens. It’s not as sweet as Genovese but has a stronger flavor.
I found this recipe for Opal Basil Lemonade! Opal Basil Lemonade – The Voltaggio Brothers.
Can’t wait to try it! I’ll probably ask for Meyer lemons from the orchard nearby while I am waiting for my Meyer lemon tree to start giving fruit.

And finally, Thai Basil (O. basilicum ‘Horapha’).
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This has a sweet licorice scent! Flowers are edible too but I’m not pinching them off just yet. Until I do my shrimp and clam shopping, I’ll admire the flowers 🙂
Can’t wait to try making Thai green curry using this! Mmm.

There are about 150 kinds of basil! I guess I’ll be adding a few more later!
For now, I’m going to focus on getting these herbs established and propagate as many as I can to scatter in the garden. Need to research how to make natural pesticides…
It’s not going to be easy to pick grasshoppers (my enemy!) and pinch off leaves with leaf miners if they are everywhere in the garden!

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