A perfect mix!
It’s Saturday night and you’re ordering your favorite margherita pizza! But do you know why the tomato and basil mixture tastes so good? And do you know what other foods this mixture could be good with? Did you know that beyond their taste combination, tomatoes and basil are a good combo when sown together? Learn more about the true love between tomatoes and basil!
What vegetables to plant next to tomatoes?
Tomatoes need to grow before they can be eaten. For a little guidance, you can plant your tomato plants next to asparagus, carrots, cucumbers, onions and parsley, which are great companions to repel unwanted guests.
When to start your seedlings?
If you want to plant your own plants, you will need to plant in March. This will ensure that your plants have enough time to mature. Then, you will have to wait until there is no more risk of frost before moving them outside!
Why put basil at the base of your tomatoes?
It can also be interesting to plant a basil plant at the base of your tomatoes. Indeed, the basil, with its strong smell, will repel all the “bugs” that could attack your tomatoes (flies and mosquitoes of all kinds!). Also, it seems that if you plant basil at the base of your tomato plants, they will have a particular taste of basil, thanks to the volatile compounds escaping from it! Yummy!
Moreover, tomatoes and basil require the same type of habitat for optimal development: 6 to 8 hours of sun per day, and they do not like the cold (beware of frost!).
Plus, you’ll be able to cook your favorite pizza with fresh ingredients from your garden at the end of the summer!
What plants to plant with basil?
Basil, on the other hand, likes to be planted with cucurbits, such as cucumbers, squash or melons. As mentioned before, it also goes very well with tomatoes!
Also, don’t forget that your basil likes the sun, but not the frost. So, even though March is shaping up to be super nice, it’s too early for your basil – or your tomatoes – to take a trip outside. You’ll have to keep your seedlings indoors until June.
Why are tomatoes and basil a good match?
A fresh tomato is a perfect balance of acidity and sweetness. There are over 400 volatile compounds in tomatoes that give them their flavor! One of these compounds is called linalool, a monoterpene acrylic alcohol. This compound gives the sweet, floral taste to many flowers, vegetables and fruits, including tomatoes. This compound is also present in many other fruits, such as peaches and plums.
Basil, on the other hand, has a pungent and peppery taste, but it also contains the same volatile compound, linalool. Thus, it enhances the flavor of tomatoes when added to them!
That’s why the two flavors go together so well: their volatile compounds are similar and therefore their agreement is inevitable!
Another factor to consider is culture! Yes, you have to be used to seeing them together. It’s the same principle as when you were young and didn’t like blue cheese. The more you eat it, the more your taste develops and the more you like it!
When you often see foods together, your brain creates an association and it is now natural for you to see them together. In other cultures, which are not used to mixing these foods together, the association is less logical!
What’s good with tomatoes and basil?
Tomatoes and basil are just as good fresh as an appetizer as they are cooked on your margherita pizza.
The mixture is also great with fresh mozzarella or pieces of bocconcini (a true Italian classic!). It also goes well with white fish, garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Do I have to chop the basil to use it in recipes?
You can add fresh basil, whole and without the stem, to your favourite dishes at the end of the preparation process. This way, it will retain its full flavour. If you want to add it chopped, do it at the last minute, just before serving! If you want to use dried basil, add it at the beginning of your preparation, and in smaller quantities.
A tomato and basil sauce is always a guaranteed success! Add basil to your favourite bruschetta recipe, you’ll love the combination of flavours!
The combination of tomatoes and basil is more than just a flavour match – it’s a planting match too! Both love the sun, so don’t hesitate to make them neighbors in your garden. Plus, you’ll have the chance to harvest them and then cook them together for a flavorful meal!