Oh, basil! There are more basil varieties than ever realized. That fragrant, leafy green that makes us think of summer gardens, Italian cuisine, and that one time we thought we could make pesto from scratch.

But did you know there’s more to basil than just the classic Genovese variety that stars in your pasta sauce? Yep, this herb comes in a smorgasbord of types, each with its own unique flavor, aroma, and use.

Let’s see all the different kinds of basil you can grow and cook with.

Sweet Basil

Sweet Basil: The Popular Kid

First up, we have Sweet Basil, the variety you’re most likely to encounter in your kitchen adventures. It’s the poster child for basil, with its large, green leaves and that classic, slightly sweet flavor.

Sweet Basil is like that one friend who gets along with everyone and is invited to every party. It’s versatile, great in sauces, salads, and as a garnish. If you’re making pesto, Sweet Basil is your go-to.

Tai Basil

Thai Basil: The Exotic Twist

Next on our list is Thai Basil, which brings a bit of an exotic twist to the basil family. With its smaller, pointier leaves and a hint of licorice flavor, Thai Basil is the star in many Asian dishes. Think Thai curries, Vietnamese pho, and stir-fries.

It’s a bit sturdier when it comes to cooking, so it can stand up to heat better than its sweet cousin. If you’re looking to add a pop of color and a unique flavor to your dishes, Thai Basil has got your back.

Red Basil

Purple Basil: The Glamorous One

Now, let’s talk about Purple Basil, the glamorous sibling in the basil family. With its striking dark purple leaves and a slightly spicier flavor, Purple Basil is not just about looks.

It can add depth to salads, make a stunning garnish, and even work its magic in cocktails. If you’re looking to impress at your next dinner party, Purple Basil will help you dress your dishes to the nines.

Lemon Basil

Lemon Basil: The Zesty Sidekick

Lemon Basil, as you might guess from the name, brings a zesty, citrusy twist to the basil lineup. With its light green leaves and lemony scent, it’s perfect for adding a fresh, tangy flavor to salads, fish dishes, and even desserts.

If you’re in the mood for something light and refreshing, Lemon Basil is your zesty sidekick, ready to brighten up your culinary creations.

Holy Basil.

Holy Basil: The Sacred Herb

Last but not least, we have Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi. This variety holds a special place in Hindu culture and is considered sacred. Holy Basil has a slightly spicy, peppery flavor, making it more than just a culinary herb—it’s also revered for its medicinal properties.

While you might not find it in your everyday pesto, it’s a staple in Ayurvedic medicine and herbal teas.

And Many More…

The world of basil is vast and varied, with each type bringing its own unique personality to the table. From the classic Sweet Basil to the exotic Thai Basil, the glamorous Purple Basil, the zesty Lemon Basil, and the sacred Holy Basil, there’s a basil for every mood and dish.

So next time you’re in the garden or the grocery store, why not pick up a variety you haven’t tried before? Who knows, you might just discover a new favorite.

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