The weather is heating up outside which means summer is almost here. As you look for summer herbs to spruce up your vegetable garden, look no further than basil. This summer herb is easy to grow, loves the sunlight, and comes in multiple varieties. Basil also has many culinary uses, with the herb’s fragrance and taste making it a great addition to salads, vegetables, as well as many pasta dishes. For Garden’s Sake carries four different varieties of basil (when available). Each has unique characteristics that will make great summer additions to both your garden and your cooking.
‘Eleonora’ Italian Basil
Eleonora Basil is great for summer gardens because of its ability to fight off powdery mildew. Basil plants are often susceptible to mildew as the disease spreads easy between plants, but Eleonora basil is bred to stand upright with an elongated stem, making for better airflow and a decreased likelihood for catching disease. When it comes to flavor, Eleonora Basil is known for being more spicy than other traditional varieties of basil, creating an extra kick for your summer pesto dishes.
Amethyst Basil is known for its large purple and black leaves. In addition to making a great ornamental for your garden, this herb has great flavor too. Amethyst Basil is best paired with cheese and tomatoes, but goes well in sauces and fish dishes as well. Definitely a great addition to your vegetable garden!
African Blue Basil
A unique variation of basil, African Blue Basil is a great exotic addition to your summer garden. In addition to its beautiful blue leaves, African Blue Basil is special because its leaves and stem are completely edible. African Blue Basil is also known for attracting bees, which can be great for other pollinating plants in your garden. While few people use African Blue Basil in the kitchen because of its strong scent, the herb yields a rich flavor that will make a if great addition to pesto and soups.
‘Greek Columnar’ Basil
Greek Columnar Basil ask known for its cinnamon aroma and taste. This herb is great for container growing because of its ability to grow 2 to 3 feet in an upright form. Greek Columnar is a versatile in the kitchen, being used in sauces, cheeses, meat dishes, soups, and stews.
If you’re looking for a fun recipe to use your fresh basil, check out this great salad from Ina Garten!