Fresh on your pizza, added to your favorite Italian and Southeastern Asian dishes or made into pesto. It is not surprising that basil is often called the King of Herbs.
Look for opportunities to include basil in your gardens, containers and ornamental plantings. Purple varieties add color and combine nicely with other flowers and vegetables.
Always wait for the air and soil to warm before moving basil into the garden. Cold air and soil can stunt or damage the plants and increase the risk of downy mildew. You may even see blackened leaves and other damage when temperatures drop to 50 degrees.
Regular harvesting will increase productivity and insure the best flavor. Remove flower buds as soon as they appear to maintain foliage flavor. But don’t worry if a few blossoms appear, these are also edible.
Dry, freeze or make flavored vinegar for salad dressing or infuse in oil.
A bit more information: Harvest extra to make into pesto. Or, if you use the basil to make flavored vinegar for salad dressing or infused oil, make some extra and give as gifts to friends and family.
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