This basil was at one of my local markets early in my growing season and I was immediately attracted to it because of the varigated leaves. Then when I saw it was a type of basil I decided to give it a try in my herb garden. I have grown many kinds of basil over the years such as sweet basil, purple, Thai and a mini spicy basil but never a varigated one.
Why I have not used it yet in cooking? Maybe because it was so pretty and kept getting taller and never showed any signs of flowering. If you have grown basil before you know you have to keep cutting it as it always wants to go to seed, but not this basil. It has a very attractive columnar shape and would look great in any garden whether you used it in cooking or just for its shape and leaf color.
The leaves are small, bigger than Spicy Globe Basil but not as big as Basil Genovese and perfect for salads or as a garnish. When the leaves are crushed they have a distinct smell of basil with a hint of lemon, and they hold their color well when cooked. It is deer and rabbit resistant but Japanese Beetles like this plant – this surprised me. I have picked off a couple of those beetles already (I use gloves, pick them off and drop them in a little soap and water).
For many recipes making or using pesto search “pesto” or go to any of the links below:
- Weight Watcher’s Pesto Two Ways
- Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
- Basil Harvest
- Pesto Chicken Panini
- Turkey Panini with Pesto and Red Onions
- Creamy Pesto Dip
- Cooking Tidbits – Keeping Pesto Green
- Shamrock Pesto Puff Pastry
- Zucchini, Tomato Pesto and Queso Blanco Cheese
Regular basil on the left and the new Perpetuo Pesto on the right along with a second sprouting of dill plants surrounding the basil – dill reseeds like crazy…
I used my Weight Watcher’s recipe to make some pesto with this beautiful basil. Honestly, I am not sure yet as there is a hint of lemon in the pesto, and I am not sure lemon fits. I froze it and will try it in recipes later. Possibly the leaves would be better in a salad or with fish – I will have to look into it for next years garden…
Weight Watcher’s Pesto:
- 2 tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
- 2 cups basil leaves, packed
- 1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/4 tsp. salt
Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet for a couple of minutes, stirring every now and then to prevent burning. Remove and cool.
In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients (I do not add the salt) and process until smooth.