‘Mrs Burns’ Lemon Basil
Mrs. Burns’ Lemon Basil is a legendary heirloom plant that has been grown since the 1920s, when it was owned by Mrs. Clifton of Carlsbad, New Mexico. She gave the seeds to Janet Burns, an organic gardener, who introduced the citrusy, aromatic herb to the world in 1939.
Its intense lemony flavour meant that it became an instant hit with fine chefs and gardeners alike!
The lemon-scented, light-green leaves can be used in cooking, eaten raw and even added to baked treats.
Funnily enough, Mrs. Burns’ Lemon Basil (AKA Ocimum basilicum var. citriodora) is not actually a variety of lemon basil; it is a kind of sweet basil. And a total one off.
|Latin name||Ocimum basilicum|
|Variety||Mrs. Burns Lemon|
|Plant size|| Height: 50 cm|
Width: 30 cm
|Container size|| Height: 20 cm|
Width: 20 cm
|Companion plant(s)||Tomatoes, peppers, oregano, parsley, garlic chives, alpine strawberries|
|Planting indoors||Feb to Mar|
|Planting outdoors||Apr to Jun|
|Germination||5 to 10 days|
|Harvesting||40 to 60 days|
|Planting||1 cm to 3 cm apart at 0.5 cm depth|
|Thinning||3 cm to 5 cm|
|Light||Full sun to partial shade|
|Soil||Well-drained, light and moist soil|
|Watering||Regular watering, not overdone|
|Caring||To promote a nice bushy plant with lots of lemon-scented leaves, prune this basil early and often by pinching off the upper set of leaves. Cut the flowers off to prevent the leaves from becoming bitter.|
|Beneficial wildlife||Attracts bees and butterflies.|
|Pests||Repels aphids and mosquitoes. Improves the health of other plants (and people!).|
|Harvesting||Pinch out leaves as you need them for your recipes. Use the remainder for a refreshing cup of herbal tea. As fresh basil wilts and loses both its colour and fragrance soon after harvesting, it is best to keep basil in a glass of water and in a cool, dry, dark spot.|
|Eating|| Medicinal properties: Refreshing and relaxing, basil stimulates appetite and lifts the mood.|
How to eat: Add Mrs. Burns’ vibrant lemony flavour generously to soups, sauces and marinades. Let the plant’s citrusy soul permeate your biscuits and cakes. Add half a cup of chopped leaves to a beurre blanc sauce to give a lemony touch to fish dishes.