Herbs, Basil

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There are many varieties of basil (Ocimum basilicum L.). The most common type is the Sweet or Spicy Globe basil. Home gardeners know that if you plant basil in your garden, it can grow fast and you can expect it to take over if you are not careful, especially in hot climates.

Fresh basil can be used fresh (raw) or added to sauces. A well-known dish is caprese salad, where chefs tuck fresh basil leaves between layers of fresh mozzarella and sliced tomatoes. Like all herbs, a little goes a long way…but maybe not when it comes to basil, as it is also the star ingredient of pesto, which is a puree of basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese.

Some of the more common specialty varieties are Opal and Thai, but there are many others. Coloring can range from bright green to dark or purple (like Opal) depending on variety—and some varieties (like Thai) have dark or purple stems with green leaves. In addition, some varieties are variegated, and some have ruffled or crinkly edges (like Purple Ruffle). Flavor can range from bright, green, herbaceous, aromatic, and clove-like with slight anise notes to spicy or camphor depending on variety. Note: Some varieties listed require special ordering. Please speak to your representative.

Recommended Storage

The recommended optimum storage temperature is 32° – 40°F. Keep them covered, they are susceptible to wilting when allowed to dehydrate. With the exception of oregano and basil, we recommend you store all herbs in the coldest part of your cooler. For basil, we recommend you store them in the front of your cooler where the temperature is not as cold. If kept too cold, the leaves will turn dark. The temperature fluctuates from the front to the back of the cooler due to the location of the cooling unit and frequency of the door being opened. Download our PDF for more cooler storage hints.

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Let's take a minute and talk about the basics of bright, herbaceous, springtime herbs in this episode of Produce 101: Herbs

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Produce 101: Herbs

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