Basil could be my favorite herb. It is beautifully aromatic and lends itself to so much more than pesto in the kitchen. And although it’s an annual, many will grow it year round on sunny windowsills when the weather isn’t conducive to it flourishing outside. Every year, I grow what is marketed as common basil. It has big leaves that can be julienned and are easy to pick. In addition to that variety, I’m growing Aristotle Basil that is quite an eye-catching addition to the herb garden.
When I purchased it, a lady checking me out made the comment that it was an ornamental basil. I thought she was wrong, but didn’t say anything. Then when I got it home and planted, I started researching it further and discovered that is a common misconception of this basil type. It is super easy to grow because it isn’t picky about the amount of light it receives or water. Glory! And it grows in a lovely orb shape that rebounds nearly overnight after a harvest. The best way I can describe it is that it is tidy. It stays in one place vs. the common basil that can get quite leggy and tall.
But the main advantage is the tiny yet full of basil flavored leaves. I use them to scatter over pasta salads, green salads and even with mayonnaise on a turkey sandwich. Because of the compact size, they provide a hint of flavor without being overpowering. I am sold on this Greek version of basil and it will be an every year purchase from now on! Look for it at your favorite local plant retailer.