Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Adaptable Lemon Basil

Lemon Basil... 'Kemangi' in Malay
One of the most utilised herbs in our garden, Lemon Basil (Ocimum × citriodorum) is easy to grow, but best treated as an annual. If allowed to retain its pretty white flowers, it will readily drop its seeds and sprout new plantlets when the springtime weather warms.

However, we find it best to remove the flower heads of Lemon Basil during summer, only allowing them to form during the autumn months, prior to the cold weather which will kill the plant. With the removal of its flowers, the plant will continue to produce its fragrant leaves.

A curiosity of the plant is that, when wet, its seeds appear like frogs' eggs!

As its name suggests, Lemon Basil has a strong lemon fragrance. We use it to flavour fried rice and fried noodles, in fish dishes, curries, fresh spring rolls, omelettes, tomato-based sauces and in Asam Ikan. For lovers of Asian food, it is worth finding a place in your garden for a few Lemon Basil plants.

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