Basil is one of our best loved herbs. It’s most well-known form is named ‘sweet basil’, which is actually both savoury and sweet. Sweet basil is aromatic, with a scent of pepper, mint and anise, along with little hints of liquorice and cloves in its fragrance. It has an adaptable taste, allowing it to play a role in a wide range of recipes.
What many people do not realize, however, is that there are actually many forms of basil. These include Thai basil, dark opal basil and cinnamon basil, each with a slightly different flavour and fragrance.
Though there are many forms of basil, there are even more myths and legends surrounding this herb. Now these are where basil really comes into its own – some of these make us wonder if today’s basil is actually the same plant they were talking about a couple of centuries ago!
- Ancient Greeks and Romans believed that basil would only grow if you screamed and swore while sowing the seeds
- During the Middle Ages, it was thought in Europe that scorpions bred in basil and that by smelling basil your brain might be taken over by scorpions!
- Hindu cultures consider basil sacred because it’s believed to be a favourite food of the gods.
Unusually, basil has been linked to conflicting things throughout history. It’s been called a poison and a cure, associated with royalty and poverty, and represented love and madness.
What all these contradictions really show is how hugely popular basil has been, and for such a long time! It’s truly the emperor of the herbs, and we’ve given it pride of place as the crowning topping in our Posh Bunless Burger and Rosemary Chips. Long live basil!