Basil Spice Profile

Posted by Rebekah Wicke on 1/23/18

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What is Basil?

Basil is a low-growing annual of the mint family. It is also known as sweet basil and is characterized by small flowers, depending on the variety, in varying shades of white. The plant grows to a height of up to 24 inches with oval-shaped bright green leaves up to 1.5 inches in length. It is this leaf that is used for its color and its sweet, aromatic clove-like flavor and aroma. Basil is typically harvested before flower buds open to ensure premium quality and flavor of the leaves. Though native to India and Asia Minor, many varieties of basil are now grown in the United States throughout the world.

Symbolically, basil has been associated with both good and evil. It has been considered sacred in India, but literature and other sources link the herb with death. Poet John Keats writes of Isabella, who kept the head of her murdered lover in a pot of basil to preserve it. It was also used as an embalming herb in ancient Egypt. In the Middle Ages, scorpions were believed to magically breed under a pot of basil.

What is it used for today?

AdobeStock 83212850Basil is often paired with oregano and has been a common complement to tomato-based products such as canned spaghetti or pizza sauces for years. It has also enjoyed popularity in the baking and snack markets as a component of specialty flavored breads or “Italian style” topical snack seasonings such as Sun Dried Tomato Basil and Pesto.

To learn more about the spices and seasonings that Fuchs has to offer, click here. 

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Tags: Spices, Ingredients, Spice Profile, Basil