Friday, October 22, 2010


cinnamon and opal basils

One of the many herbs my folks grow on the farm is basil (Ocimum basilicum).  Most people are familiar with sweet basil used in Italian cooking, but there are many different varieties with different flavors and uses.  As my Mom mentioned in her "Happening Now on the Farm" post, they are currently growing four different varieties: Cinnamon, Genovese, Purple Dark Opal and Mrs. Burn's Lemon Basil (which is a New Mexico heirloom).  All of the basil seed is certified organic and was purchased from Seed Savers Exchange.

Lemon basil is often used in Thai food and has a fresh lemony flavor along with a somewhat muted "regular" basil flavor.  As you can guess, cinnamon basil is supposed to add a cinnamon twist.  I haven't tried this variety.  I am interested to find out how it tastes, but I can't imagine why anyone would want to combine basil and cinnamon.  Genovese is a standard Italian variety.  Opal basil has purple leaves which add interesting color variation in salads, etc.  It is similar in flavor to standard sweet basil with a slight hint of anise.

opal basil

Mom and friends pick basil.
Basil pickers extraordinaire: Merrylin LeBlanc, Mom & Angela Werneke.

For more information on basil, check out Seed Savers Exchange, Wikipedia or Ramona's Basil Garden.


  1. Wow! I never knew the varieties of basil had such dramatically different flavors. The cinnamon is cinnamony and I think it would work great in an Indian Curry dish. The lemon is lemony. Perhaps a leaf in my hot tea in the morning....

  2. Love basil! I grow several varieties. It is so easy to grow; almost as easy as weeds! ;)
    Great in soups, salads, breads, marinades and of course,pestos! Mmmm! Haven't found anything to use the cinnamon basil in yet? It is very cinnamony!