This humble plant is associated with warm countries and Mediterranean cuisine. It is typical for its aroma, appearance and taste, and is also suitable for beginning gardeners. Since basil is suitable for outdoor growing as well as indoor growing, it can always be on hand. Although it is mainly native to Africa and Asia, wild-growing is already a rarity.
Growing at home and on the balcony
A 13 cm tall pot with a diameter of 11 cm is sufficient for this plant, but it can grow to larger sizes. Due to its origin, it prefers light, but in too harsh a sun, the soil dries out and the leaves fade. The growth of basil is encouraged by a substrate for herbs or vegetables. It is worth encouraging it when planting the seedlings, which are ideally kept at 20-25℃ and planted in March. The plants will start to germinate after about a week. For germination, it is recommended to grow them in a northern window.
Basil, as one of the few herbs, is sensitive to excess or lack of water. Ideally, the substrate is consistently moist, but too much moisture leads to rot. Basil should therefore be protected from rain and only the leaves should be soaked.
From July onwards, the leaves can be harvested on larger plants. In the domestic sphere, basil is good for daily use, in salads or as a condiment. Cut the plant when it has at least four leaflets, but also harvest as many as you currently need. Fresh basil can be stored for 5 days and if you want to preserve it for the long term, dry it, freeze it or marinate it in olive oil and a little vinegar.
Basil green leaves are rich in vitamins A, B5, C, calcium and magnesium. Basil is used for its properties in Italian cooking, primarily with tomatoes. In the form of tea, it helps with indigestion and appetite, and in the form of oil, it has anti-inflammatory properties.
How to use it?
Dried it is useful as a spice, which is typical for its aroma. In this form it is used to flavour minced meat, fish or game. On the other hand, the fresh leaves are suitable for salads.