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A sprig of basil is the top three to four leaves of the plant. Be aware that as the basil plant grows bigger, the larger, older leaves will lose their flavor oomph. For best flavor and amazing aroma, snip from higher up the plant.
Fresh basil leaves are very tender on the palate and an ideal addition to salads, sandwiches and anything containing summer ripe tomatoes.
Basil is a very pretty plant and would not look out of place in a flower garden. The leaves are glossy and evenly veined and the stem is fleshy. Basil can be snipped directly from the plant or just clipped from the stem.
Thoughts on Growing Herbs
Fresh herbs can be grown in a sunny window or garden spot. As many herbs are served uncooked, it’s important to grow them in a spot where they’ll be protected from:Pesticides or other chemicals, which may be transferred to the plate in the lobes of a leaf.Bird droppings. For example, if you have a bird feeder or bird bath, grow your herbs indoors.Leavings from any outdoor creatures include stray cats or visiting dogs.
When cooking with fresh herbs or adding them to cold dishes, take note of their texture and warn your guests of any surprises.
While mint may be a staple in your iced tea, it can be an unpleasant surprise to a diner who has never tasted it or bitten into a mint leaf.
Rosemary can also be rather stiff and have a sharp end; while this herb is a great addition to broths, the woody texture may be a jolt. If possible, filter it out of your final dish before serving.
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With a little care and preparation, the flavor of fresh herbs can turn an ordinary dish into an extraordinary treat for the senses.
Many fresh herbs are quite beautiful on the plate and appeal whether raw or cooked.
Use them up quickly after purchase, rinse them carefully and strip away the woody stems for a quality presentation for your diners.
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What are your favorite herbs? Let us know in the comments with your questions, tips and recipe ideas.