Genoese giant basil is the most popular variety of this herb that is so widely used in Mediterranean cuisine . It is the one you find in the market and in the greengrocer, a perennial plant with erect stems and large, petiolate and somewhat irregular and jagged leaves. Its flowers are white or soft purple and its fruits are achenes.
This plant can reach more than 2 meters in height and is very easy to grow. You don’t need anything more than a pot or a small surface as it is a very undemanding plant, which you can even grow next to a window in your kitchen.
- 1 Particularities of this variety
- 2 Myths about basil
Characteristics of this variety
Genoese giant basil belongs to the Lamiaceae family and its scientific name is Ocimum basilicum . Originally from Asia, it has been widely used in ancient times in the Mediterranean area. However, this variety is of Italian origin and since 2005 it has a Protected Designation of Origin . The town of Pra’ (Genoa) is famous for its cultivation.
It is widely used to make pesto and other Ligurian cuisine recipes, although luck has wanted it to cross borders so today you can find it almost anywhere. But there is no way to grow it at home, so if you want to do it, keep in mind that you will need a sunny place , taking into account that it needs a Mediterranean climate, although it is versatile and adaptable.
If you sow directly in the ground, it is best to do it in April or advance to February in the case of doing it in a seedbed. Avoid excess watering because it is a plant that needs just a little water to prevent fungi from appearing and its roots from rotting.
You can use the fresh basil leaves whenever you like, just cut the florets and voila! If you want to dry the leaves instead, you should let the bouquets rest face down in a dry, ventilated place.
Myths about basil
Basil was not always seen with good eyes. Although today it is used in the kitchen, in health and in the cosmetic industry, in the past it was feared and hated, associated with hatred for the Greeks or Satan, considered poisonous or with powers to ward off bad influences.
Fortunately, it knew how to reverse its loss of prestige and today it is the symbol of love in Italy and in Mexico it is said that it attracts fortune as well as an essential ingredient in the world’s recipe book.