A Conversation for How to Use Herbs and Spices in Cooking

Basil - to tear, or to chop?

Post 1

The Researcher formally known as Dr St Justin

Some people say that when using basil, you should tear it, rather than chopping with a knife. The reason being that chopping bruises the basil. Apparently. Can anyone verify this? It hasn't happened to me yet (as far as I know).

Basil - to tear, or to chop?

Post 2


I don't know about that. But tearing it does coat your fingers in the most amazingly fragrant oil, which can't be a bad thing.

Basil - to tear, or to chop?

Post 3


Tearing is definitely the way to go. When you chop, you may notice the basil starts to go dark. End result - less flavour transfer into the rest of dish.

If you are feeling adventurous, try having a go at purple basil. A much stronger flavour, and really good in Thai food.

Basil - to tear, or to chop?

Post 4


According to the Chef-Instructor in one of my classes, tearing the basil releases more of the oils and thus strengthens the flavor.

Basil - to tear, or to chop?

Post 5


It depends on the dish being made. Generally you tear it, however in dishes like Napoli it's finely sliced, as previously mentioned chopping bruises the basil, bruised basil releases it's flavour into the dish.
Where you want the basil to retain it's individual flavour you tear it.

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