Thai Basil (Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflora) is a spicy, anise-liquorice flavoured basil, which is also known as horapa in the Thai language. With their lovely purple stems and purple-veined leaves on a shiny, dark green background, these plants are not only grown for their culinary uses but also as ornamental specimens. Thai Basil is widely used in the cuisines of Southeast Asia, including Thai, Vietnamese, Lao and Cambodian cuisines. It is best when eaten raw—in fact, a plate of raw Thai Basil leaves is often served as an accompaniment to the Vietnamese dish called pho. The plant is said to have the ability to convey good fortune to its user while also protecting him or her from evil spirits. If a leaf is placed in one's pocket, it will cause money to enter one's pocket soon thereafter.
TIMING Germination 5-10 days Harvesting 40-60 days
SPACING When sowing 1-3 cm; Depth 0,3 cm When thinning 3-5 cm
GROWING Sunligth Full sun to partial shade Soil Well-drained, light and moist soil Watering Regular watering, not overdone Feeding Light feeder
CARING Expert tip To promote a nice bushy plant with lots of scented leaves, prune this basil early and often by pinching off the upper set of leaves. Cut the flowers off to prevent the leaves from becoming bitter.
SUPPORTING Pollinators Attracts bees and butterflies. Pests Repels aphids and mosquitoes. Improves the health of other plants (and people!).
HARVESTING Pinch out leaves as you need them. As fresh basil wilts and loses both its colour and fragrance soon after harvesting, it is best to keep basil in a glass of water and in a cool, dry, dark spot. Use any that is leftover from your recipes for a refreshing herbal tea.
EATING Medicinal properties Refreshing and relaxing, basil stimulates appetite and lifts the mood. How to eat When it comes to Southeast Asian cuisine, Thai Basil is a leading spice used in stir-fry, noodle and curry recipes. Since it can be eaten both raw and cooked, it can be used to add anise flavour to any dish. Additionally, Thai Basil, coconuts and lime are great friends—so you can also use it to treat yourself to a refreshing iced sorbet!
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