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MyThai (Basils)

August 3, 2010

I had never heard of Thai Basil before last June when a friend gave me a “Thai” basil plant last summer as a “garden warming” gift. My experience had been limited to the more generic sweet basil that is available in every seed rack in the county.

Last year I pretty much treated the Thai basil as an ornamental addition to the beds, something to attract bees and butterflies; the flavor was too “different” for pesto vs the sweet basil we were accustomed to. Contrary to the growth habit of a typical sweet basil plant, the Thai plants are woody stemmed, grow rather large and provide purple and white flowers all season.

I have had a hundred volunteers come back from last year’s seed; I am considering potting one or more up and bringing in for the winter. The plant below is one of these; it is fairly small compared to last year’s “mother” plant but it is really taking off in the spot where the last of the lettuce had been going to seed.

Fast forward to this year, when the same friend gave me another “Thai” basil plant It has all the attributes described above but is a different type than last year’s specimen. The purple of the flowers is darker and they are clustered/clumped together.

Will the real slim shady Thai basil please stand up?

After a little more investigation (if Wikipedia counts) I have learned that there are all types of Basils that I didn’t know much about. OK, that I didn’t know anything about.

The Wiki page lists a bunch; the link to the Wiki Thai basil page says there are 3 types but doesn’t go much deeper. The two pictures down the page nail my two types pretty well, but no difference or distinction is given between the two.

Now that most of this wandering post is behind me, I will add that we have learned to appreciate the flavor of these two “Thais”, especially the “new” one this year. A little goes well as a compliment to the sweet globe basil we have been using in the tomato sauces we’ve been putting up so far this year. A little spicier-

That’s all I have to say about basil tonight.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Curious BIL permalink
    August 4, 2010 9:23 am

    I didn’t read this post very closely, but it sounds like you are growing some sort of thai stick behind that fence. Is it medicinal?

  2. censorship victim? permalink
    August 4, 2010 5:29 pm

    I thought I posted a comment here earlier. Are you deleting my comments now? I have rights, you know.

    • August 4, 2010 7:48 pm

      I have a j-o-b and can’t moderate every comment immediately. If you EVER used the same name you wouldn’t have to be approved, only first comments are moderated.

      This being said,

      I AM THE ALL POWERFUL OZ….. I CAN DO ANYTHING (pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. )

  3. September 27, 2010 2:13 pm

    I make a good crazy chicken rice noodle dish with Thai basil. It’s good to know the plants can come back as volunteers. http://michaelbeyer.wordpress.com/2010/05/28/michaels-crazy-chicken-rice-noodle-stir-fry/
    I’m looking for more recipes that use that herb.

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