Basil, Italian Large Leaf (Ocimum basilicum) is a popular variety of basil widely used in Mediterranean and Italian cuisine. Italian Large Leaf basil has large, broad, and tender leaves that are bright green in color. The leaves are smooth, slightly wrinkled, and have a glossy appearance. The plant grows to a height of around 18-24 inches (45-60 cm) and forms a bushy and compact shape.
Flavor: Italian Large Leaf basil has a sweet, aromatic, and slightly spicy flavor with hints of clove and anise. Its flavor is considered more intense and robust compared to other basil varieties.
Culinary Uses: Italian Large Leaf basil is a staple herb in Italian cuisine, particularly in dishes like pesto sauce, Caprese salad, tomato-based sauces, and pasta recipes. The leaves are often used fresh, as their flavor is best when they are not subjected to prolonged heat. They can also be dried or frozen for later use.
Medicinal and Health Benefits: Basil, including Italian Large Leaf basil, contains various beneficial compounds like essential oils, flavonoids, and antioxidants. It has been traditionally used in herbal medicine for its potential antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and digestive properties. Additionally, basil is a good source of vitamins A, K, and C, as well as minerals like calcium and iron.
Growing Conditions: Italian Large Leaf basil thrives in warm and sunny conditions. It prefers well-drained soil and regular watering. It can be grown from seeds or propagated from cuttings. This basil variety is commonly cultivated in home gardens, containers, and herb planters.
Pesto: Italian Large Leaf basil is highly valued for its role in making pesto sauce. Traditional pesto is made by blending fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and sometimes lemon juice. This vibrant and flavorful sauce is widely used as a pasta dressing, spread, or dip.
Italian Large Leaf basil is known for its aromatic and versatile nature, making it a cherished herb in various culinary applications. Its large and lush leaves not only enhance the flavor of dishes but also make it an attractive addition to herb gardens and container plantings.