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I want to understand some more about basil.

 

Purple

Thai

"regular"

field basil

tree basil

 

Which ones are minty, which are lemony, which are mild and which are pungent?

 

I've been buying basil like crazy at the greenmarket. Different farmers call it tree basil, field basil, and baby basil. Any differences between those, in theory?

 

I've noticed that some is very very tiny and that's milder but full flavored. Then there's a slightly bigger leaf one. Then there's one with longer, softer "stems."

 

I love these little basil bunches because I can easily chop them and I don't have to pull the leaves off of the stems.

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Now Cathy's over on the Hearth thread saying "bush basil."

 

Help me.

omni, there are just so many basil varieties that it's hard to tell which ones you're referring to. I'll stop by the market and take a look.

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I am at my mom's house in St. Louis this weekend and she has a ton of basil growing. Last night I did a side by side tasting of some. Thai Basil has a noticeably more pronounced anise flavor than any other basil. It is very aggressively flavored. It has smaller and slightly stiffer leaves than regular basil. It also has purple stems and flowers.

It is not hard to taste why this basil works so well in the cuisine of southeast asia.

 

The "regular" basil that we buy or grow is much milder and grows larger and softer leaves. It has a slightly minty flavor and is more mildly fragrant, although it still possesses a wee bit of anise flavor as well. I read that Italians will grow it in the same pot as a tomato plant because the flavors mingle so well.

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