Howdy Friends and Fans of ESH! Lettuce chat about basil. It's in season right now, and woah baby, do we have a ton of it! If you haven't yet tried our hydroponic basil, you are missing out. Our green basil is what's known as sweet basil, and the flavor is out of this world. It is a warm weather crop, but we have it growing year around in our greenhouses. Plant size does tend to be larger in the summer and smaller in the winter, but the winter-sized basil is just as amazing as the summer-sized basil. Thank you climate controlled greenhouses! In this picture below, you see our basil in different stages of growth in the greenhouse.
You can find basil in varying forms. In the grocery store, you will find it dried and sold in a little plastic bottle, in little fresh herbs packs, freeze dried in bottles in the refrigerated veggie section, and planted in little pots that you can put in your window sill and use while it is growing (they're so cute!). Other varieties out in the world include beautiful purple basil and Thai basil, which are also very tasty. In our little lettuce factory, we grow sweet basil, and you will find it living, on its root cube, and packed neatly in a bag.
Oh the aromatics of frESH basil! All it takes is a little jostle of the plant and the distinct aroma of basil comes flooding into the room. You just start looking around for the beautiful basil plant when you smell it. MMmmm! The delicious smell of summertime savory cooking. It's unmistakable. Every time we talk of basil at the farm, I make sure to mention (yet again) that basil smells like Chap-stick Original. Go ahead, smell the Chap-stick. I can't smell basil and not flashback to the smell Chap-stick Original in my head (random thoughts, but it's oddly true).
Basil has so many culinary uses. I know so many people who love fresh basil, tomato, and mozzarella, with balsamic vinegar. (That is the one that first pops into my head.) What a healthy and tasty treat. Soups, pizza, lasagna, all things pasta, basil pesto, all sorts of salads, infused oils, potato dishes, seafood, deserts, and drinks. I never think about using basil in a frozen desert like a lemon basil granita or sorbet, but there are some amazing recipes out there for these frozen treats. Oh! Before I forget, I had the pleasure of meeting a farm neighbor, who mentioned putting basil in several kinds of her favorite sandwiches. Oh. My. Heavens. YES! That makes me want to make a BLTB (bacon, lettuce, tomato, and basil) sammie!
Yes, oh yes basil is a very useful plant. Fresh, dried, freeze dried, or cooked, basil is such a wonderful addition to your dish. When you grab a bag of our living basil, place it in a cup of water, in a window (it likes the sunshine). Change the water every couple of days to keep it fresh. And enjoy all the wonderful, aromatic leaves. When you're left with the stems, you can chop them up finely, and add them to any recipe like soup or something you would simmer, and you won't waste a bit of that fabulous plant.
Remember, you can find basil year around at ESH, so keep that in mind in the winter when you're craving that savory hit of basil in your tomato basil soup, or making a simple but elegant pesto on angel hair pasta. Comment below on your favorite uses for basil. We're always in the market to share ideas. Friends and Fans, it's been fun chatting about basil. Thanks for lending us your ear today. Now please excuse me while I go make one of those BLTB's, I can't get it out of my head. Lettuce chat again soon!