A Comprehensive Look at the Various Varieties of Basil: Your Ultimate Guide

Published
A Comprehensive Look at the Various Varieties of Basil: Your Ultimate Guide

Basil is a beautiful and flavorful herbaceous plant that comes in many different types, each with its own unique taste and aroma. There are common types of basil that you have probably heard of, such as sweet basil, Thai basil, and holy basil. But did you know that there are actually over 60 different types of basil that you can grow in your own backyard?

One of the most common types of basil is sweet basil, which is the variety that is typically used in caprese salads and pesto. It has a sweet and slightly spicy flavor that pairs well with tomatoes and mozzarella. Thai basil, on the other hand, has a strong and distinct taste that is often described as spicy, anise-like, and slightly sweet. It is commonly used in Thai and Vietnamese cuisines.

Another flavorful variety is lime basil, which as the name suggests, has a citrusy flavor that adds a refreshing twist to dishes. It is often used in Southeast Asian and Caribbean cuisines. The globe basil variety is known for its small and compact bush-like growth, making it perfect for small space gardening. It has a sweet and spicy flavor that is great in salads and garnishes.

One of the most unique and beautiful types of basil is the cardinal basil, which has dark purple leaves that turn almost black as they mature. It has a spicy and savory taste, making it a great substitute for regular basil in dishes like pasta alla vodka. Another distinctive variety is the cinnamon basil, which has a sweet and spicy aroma that is reminiscent of cinnamon. It is often used in desserts and beverages.

When it comes to basil, the possibilities are endless. The different types of basil can be used in everything from salads to cocktails, and they can add a burst of flavor to any dish. So whether you’re a seasoned gardener or new to gardening, why not try planting some different types of basil this summer? You’ll be amazed at how much flavor this herb can pack!

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of basil – you never know what delicious flavors you might discover!

What Are The Varieties Of Basil Types Of Basil For Cooking

Basil is a versatile herb that is commonly used in cooking. There are many different varieties of basil, each with its own unique flavor and aroma. Here are some of the most popular types of basil for cooking:

  • Genovese Basil: This is the most common and widely used variety of basil. It has large, dark green leaves and a sweet, spicy flavor. Genovese basil is often used in Italian dishes, particularly pesto sauce.
  • Thai Basil: Also known as holy basil, Thai basil has smaller leaves and a peppery, flavorful taste. It is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine, especially in Thai dishes like stir-fries and curries.
  • Lemon Basil: True to its name, lemon basil has a citrusy flavor and aroma. It is often used in salads, seafood dishes, and sauces.
  • Cinnamon Basil: With its distinct aroma and flavor, cinnamon basil adds a unique touch to both sweet and savory dishes. It is often used in desserts, teas, and fruit salads.
  • Spicy Globe Basil: This variety of basil is compact and has small, round leaves. It has a stronger flavor compared to other types of basil and is often used in spicy dishes.
  • Purple Basil: Purple basil has dark purple leaves and a slightly spicy taste. It is a popular choice for garnishing dishes or adding a pop of color to salads.
  • Opal Basil: Opal basil has dark purple leaves that turn green when cooked. It has a slightly spicy and peppery flavor and is often used in sauces, soups, and stews.
  • Christmas Basil: This variety of basil is a hybrid of Genovese and Dark Opal basil. It has a mild, sweet flavor and can be used in a variety of dishes.
  • Napoletano Basil: Napoletano basil is known for its large, crinkled leaves and strong aroma. It is commonly used in Italian cuisine and is a favorite in tomato-based dishes.

No matter which type of basil you choose, having fresh herbs from your own garden or buying them from local farmers’ markets or nurseries is always a great choice. Experiment with different basil varieties in your recipes to discover new flavors and enhance your culinary creations!

A List of Basil Types

Basil is a versatile herb that comes in various flavors and colors. Whether you’re using it to add a fresh, fragrant taste to your favorite dish or making a beautiful garnish for your plate, there’s a basil type for every occasion.

1. Italian Basil (Ocimum basilicum): This is the most common type of basil and is often used in Italian cuisine. It has glossy green leaves and a distinct flavor that is both sweet and spicy. It’s perfect for making traditional dishes like caprese salad or adding to pasta sauces.

2. Thai Basil (Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflora): Thai basil originates from Southeast Asia and has a strong, citrusy flavor. The leaves are green with purple veins, making it a beautiful addition to any dish. It’s commonly used in Thai curries and stir-fries.

3. Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum): Also known as tulsi, holy basil is considered sacred in many Asian countries. It has a strong clove-like flavor and is often used in religious ceremonies. Holy basil is also known for its immune-boosting properties.

4. Greek Basil (Ocimum minimum): Greek basil is a dwarf variety that is easy to grow in small spaces. It has small, compact leaves and a milder flavor compared to other types of basil. It’s great for adding a subtle basil taste to salads or sandwiches.

5. Genovese Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Genovese’): Genovese basil is the largest and most common type of basil in Italy. It has large, dark green leaves and a strong, spicy flavor. It’s the perfect basil for making pesto or adding to tomato-based dishes.

6. Purple Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Purpurascens’): As the name suggests, purple basil has beautiful purple-ish leaves that add a pop of color to any dish. It has a slightly spicy flavor and is great for making flavored oils or vinegars.

7. Lemon Basil (Ocimum x citriodorum): Lemon basil has a strong lemon aroma and flavor, which pairs well with fish and seafood dishes. It’s often used in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine to add a citrusy twist to soups and salads.

8. Cinnamon Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Cinnamon’): Cinnamon basil has a sweet and spicy flavor with hints of cinnamon. It’s great for infusing in drinks or using as a unique twist in desserts.

9. Perpetuo Basil (Ocimum x citriodorum ‘Perpetuo’): Perpetuo basil is a beautiful and unique variety with green and white leaves. It has a mild flavor and can be used in any dish that calls for basil. It’s a great option for ornamental gardens.

These are just a few examples of the many different types of basil available. Each type has its own distinct flavor and taste, offering a wide range of options for your cooking. Use this guide as a starting point to explore the world of basil and find your favorite varieties.

Your Guide to All the Different Types of Basil

When it comes to cooking, basil is a herb that is commonly used in a variety of dishes. There are many different types of basil, each with its own distinct flavor profile and culinary uses. Whether you’re making a classic Italian dish or want to add a pop of flavor to your stir-fry, there’s a basil variety for every dish.

1. Sweet Basil: This is the most common variety of basil that you’ll find at grocery stores and farmers markets. It has large, green leaves that are slightly oval-shaped. Sweet basil is often used in Italian cuisine and is perfect for making pesto.

2. Purple Basil: As the name suggests, this basil variety has vibrant purple leaves. It has a slightly more peppery and spicy flavor compared to sweet basil. Purple basil is great for garnishes and adds a beautiful pop of color to any dish.

3. Thai Basil: Thai basil has a distinct anise flavor and is commonly used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking. It has narrow, pointed leaves and a spicy taste. Thai basil is typically used in stir-fry dishes and adds a delicious kick to any recipe.

4. Lemon Basil: Lemon basil has a strong lemony aroma and flavor. It has smaller leaves with a pale green color. Lemon basil is often used in teas, desserts, and salads. It pairs well with fish and chicken dishes, adding a refreshing citrusy note.

5. Holy Basil: Also known as sacred basil, holy basil has a spicy and peppery flavor. It is commonly used in Indian cuisine and is considered a sacred herb in some cultures. Holy basil is usually dried and used in soups, stews, and curries.

6. Genovese Basil: This type of basil is the most commonly used in Italian cooking. It has large, green leaves and a strong, sweet flavor. Genovese basil is great for making pesto, sauces, and for garnishing pasta dishes.

7. Greek Basil: Greek basil originates from the island of Lesbos in Greece. It has small, bright green leaves and a milder flavor compared to other basil varieties. Greek basil is often used in salads and as a garnish for Mediterranean dishes.

8. Purple Ruffles Basil: This basil variety has large, ruffled leaves that are a deep purple color. It has a sweeter taste compared to other types of basil. Purple ruffles basil is perfect for adding a pop of color to salads and is often used in desserts.

9. Cinnamon Basil: Cinnamon basil has a unique aroma and flavor that resembles cinnamon. It has small, narrow leaves that are green in color. Cinnamon basil is commonly used in baked goods, fruit salads, and drinks.

10. Perpetuo Basil: Perpetuo basil is a variety that can be grown year-round. It has small, variegated leaves that are green and white. Perpetuo basil is commonly used as a garnish and for making pesto.

Now that you know all the different types of basil, you can choose the perfect one for your next culinary adventure. Whether you want something spicy, sweet, or tangy, there’s a basil variety that will complement your dish perfectly. Experiment with different types of basil to add a burst of flavor to your cooking!

Does your recipe call for basil? Turns out there are plenty of types of basil to choose from

If your recipe calls for basil, you may be surprised to learn that there are actually many different types to choose from. Basil is a versatile herb that adds a delicious herby flavor to a wide range of dishes. Whether you’re making Italian pasta, Thai curry, or Greek salad, there’s a basil variety that will complement your recipe perfectly.

Here are 16 different types of basil that you can try:

  1. Sweet Basil: This is the most common cultivar of basil and is often simply referred to as “basil.” It has a sweet flavor that pairs well with a variety of dishes.
  2. Lemon Basil: As the name suggests, this variety has a citrusy flavor that adds a refreshing twist to your dishes. It’s great for garnishing salads and seafood.
  3. Thai Basil: This basil variety is commonly used in Thai cuisine and has a slightly spicy flavor. It’s perfect for adding a kick to stir-fries and curries.
  4. Genovese Basil: This basil variety is commonly used in Italian cooking and is known for its intense aroma and flavor. It’s perfect for making pesto sauce.
  5. Holy Basil: Also known as Tulsi, holy basil is considered sacred in some cultures and has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal properties. It has a peppery flavor and is often used in teas and herbal remedies.
  6. Opal Basil: This basil variety has stunning purple leaves and adds a touch of color to your dishes. It has a milder flavor compared to other basil varieties.
  7. Thai Lemon Basil: This basil variety is a hybrid between Thai basil and lemon basil. It has a strong citrus flavor and is perfect for adding a zesty twist to your recipes.
  8. Cardinal Basil: This basil variety has beautiful burgundy leaves and adds a pop of color to your garden or dishes. It has a milder flavor compared to other basil varieties.
  9. Cinnamon Basil: As the name suggests, this basil variety has a cinnamon-like flavor that adds a warm and sweet note to your dishes. It’s perfect for adding a unique twist to desserts and baked goods.
  10. Spicy Globe Basil: This basil variety has small, round leaves and a strong, spicy flavor. It’s great for adding a punch of flavor to your dishes.
  11. Green Ruffles Basil: This basil variety has crinkled leaves and a mild flavor. It’s great for adding texture to your dishes.
  12. Christmas Basil: This basil variety has green leaves with purple veins and adds a festive touch to your dishes. It has a milder flavor compared to other basil varieties.
  13. Genovese Compact Basil: This basil variety has compact growth and is perfect for growing indoors. It has the same intense flavor as Genovese basil.
  14. Spicy Bush Basil: This basil variety has a more compact growth habit and a stronger flavor compared to other basil varieties. It’s great for adding a spicy kick to your dishes.
  15. Purple Basil: This basil variety has dark purple leaves and adds a striking contrast to your dishes. It has a milder flavor compared to other basil varieties.
  16. Dark Opal Basil: This basil variety has deep purple leaves and a strong, spicy flavor. It’s great for adding color and flavor to your dishes.

No matter what type of basil you choose, it’s sure to add a delicious and aromatic touch to your recipes. If a recipe calls for a specific type of basil, it’s always best to use that variety to get the intended flavor. However, if you can’t find a specific type, don’t be afraid to experiment and use a different variety. Basil is a versatile herb that can be easily substituted in many recipes.

So, the next time your recipe calls for basil, try using a different variety and discover new flavors and aromas in your dishes. Enjoy exploring the world of basil!

✿ Read More About Herbs.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.