Genovese basil is a variety of sweet basil that originated in Italy. Its vigorous, large leaves have a sweet, slightly spicy flavor. Genovese basil produces bright green, slightly crinkled leaves that can grow up to 3 inches (8 cm.) long. They are excellent for pesto, caprese salad, and other dishes that require large, fresh basil leaves. In fact, Genovese basil uses are much the same as with any other sweet basil plant. Genovese basil plants can grow 2 to 3 feet (61-91 cm.) high. Plants will grow in a full, bushy form if the tips are pinched regularly and the plant is not allowed to flower. Once basil plants produce flowers, all the plant’s energy is directed into flower and seed production, and the vegetative parts of the plant will stop growing. If Genovese basil plants do go to flower though, the flowers can be harvested and used in recipes that call for basil. However, basil flowers are said to have a much more concentrated basil flavor and scent, so they should be used sparingly.

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