- Some gardeners plant cinnamon basil close to their tomato plants in the
- Rub its leaves on your skin or grow it in containers on your patio to help repel mosquitoes. You can also place fresh sprigs on top of food containers to keep flies from landing at picnics.
- When dried, cinnamon basil is wonderful in potpourri and can be used in herb/dried flower wreaths.
- Cooking with cinnamon basil is unique and interesting. You can add it to your tea, use it in jellies, honeys, vinegars and baked goods.
An annual with leafy stems and thin branchy roots, the flowers of Cinnamon Basil are two-lipped, 1/2 inch long, white and grow in racemes at top of stems. However, just like all basil plants, you want to cut those flower heads off to improve the flavor of the leaves. Leaves are opposite, ovate with an entire margin. They are 2-3 inches long and range from yellow-green to dark green depending on soil fertility. Leaves have a cinnamon fragrance and flavor. Cinnamon Basil is hardy in zones 4 to 10, but is not resistant to temperatures lower than 40 degrees.
Cinnamon basil is one the easiest basils to grow. All basils are annuals, but this one germinates fast. When planted from seed it takes approximately 5 to 7 days to sprout depending on how warm the soil is. It can be started indoors and transplanted into gardens or container pots. Cinnamon basil can grow up to 3 feet tall and, if you pinch back the leaves, it can bush out to 3 feet.
You can also grow this herb by rooting a stem cutting in water. Once rooted, it can be planted in soil once the roots are about an inch or so in length.
When I harvest my cinnamon basil, I wash it, pinch the leaves from the stems, chop, place in labeled zip lock bags and freeze it. Anytime I want to use fresh cinnamon basil, all I have to do is reach in my freezer and I can cook with it all year round. Or you can rub leaves with olive oil and place in ice cube trays or plastic bags, then freeze to save them for later use. Use within one year.
Cinnamon Basil & Lime Icebox Cookies
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
• 1/4 cup flax seed, ground
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/3 cups butter, softened
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
• 2 tablespoon grated lime zest
• 6 tablespoons fresh cinnamon basil leaves, chopped
• 2 cups pecans, chopped
• Parchment or wax paper for wrapping dough
Pinch some cinnamon basil leaves from your herb; wash it, chop it and put in a small bowl. Add flours, flax seed, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Mix and set the mixture aside. Add butter and beat until fluffy. Add sugar and eggs; beat the mixture until it becomes light and fluffy. Add vanilla, nutmeg, lime zest and cinnamon basil; blend. Take a measuring cup, scoop a cup from the flour mixture at a time and add it to the butter and blend. Add the nuts and gently stir. Once the dough is mixed, remove from the bowl onto a piece of parchment paper that has been dusted with flour. Shape the dough into a log shape and then wrap it completely with the parchment paper. Put it in a refrigerator overnight until the mixture gets hardened so that you can slice the dough. Take the dough that was refrigerated overnight, user a serrated and cut the dough about 1/4-inches to 1/2-inch slices. Arrange the cookies on a cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 to 12 minutes until the cookies become golden brown. Once the pieces are baked, put on a rack to cool.
Recipe Tip: You can bake some of the cookies and freeze, then just microwave to thaw. Or wrap the dough log and put in ziplock bag, and freeze. When you are ready to use, thaw almost completely, but still stiff to slice into 1/4" to 1/2" slices and bake.
*Regular basil may be substituted; increase ground cinnamon to 1 teaspoon.
Cinnamon Basil Orange Drink
1/2 cup soda water
sprigs of fresh basil
- 1 cup margarine
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 T. almond extract
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 eggs
- 3 Tbls. Cinnamon basil, minced
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- Garnish: 1/3 cup slivered almonds, coarsely chopped; ¼ cup granulated sugar; 1 tsp. cinnamon