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Cinnamon basil is best suited in temperate climates as a summer crop.
Cinnamon basil, botanically known as Ocimum basilicum, is also commonly known as Mexican basil. Cinnamon basil is a cultivar of sweet basil containing cinnamite, a chemical compound that gives it its concentrated cinnamon flavor and intense aroma. Cinnamite compound has claims for providing relief from common ailments like cough, headaches, diarrhea and constipation.
The Cinnamon basil plant can grow up to both three feet tall and three feet wide. It has small thin serrated green leaves with contrasting pale violet-colored stems and lavender spiked flowers. As its name suggests, cinnamon basil has warm cinnamon properties throughout its composition. Its cultivated primarily for its leaves, which have a spice quality within culinary uses.
Cinnamon basil hosts vitamins A and C in low quantities but provides a large dose of vitamin K. Cinnamon basil has small amounts of folate and iron, all similar to standard sweet basil, but with the added compound cinnamate which is exclusive to Cinnamon basil.
Cinnamon basil is found primarily as a table garnish and savory element to raw dishes, soups, hot drinks and infused oils. Add chopped fresh cinnamon basil to pumpkin pie filling as an alternative to ground, dried cinnamon. Steep cinnamon basil leaves in water and sugar, bring to a boil to infuse and use this simple syrup to flavor whipped creams or dessert. Puree Cinnamon basil with garlic and olive oil for pesto and use to top fresh pasta. Blend Cinnamon basil leaves with heavy cream and beat until desired whipped cream consistency, then top brownies or pie. Cinnamon basil is delicate and should be used immediately upon purchase. Store dry and refrigerated for up to a week.
Cinnamon basil is known as bai manglak in Thailand where the leaves are preferred as an aromatic element to fresh and steamed dishes. The seeds of the cinnamon basil plant are used as a thickening agent but they do not share the aromatics of the leaves.
Basil is a part of the mint family, Lamiaceae, which are plants native to Africa, tropical and sub-tropical regions of both the Old and New World. The strong aroma of Cinnamon basil deters common garden pests and has been known to be planted as a secondary crop to warn them off.
Recipes that include Cinnamon Basil. One is easiest, three is harder.
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