Sweet BasilGeneral Description
Basil is a bright green, leafy plant, Ocimum basilicum, which is in the mint family.

Geographical Sources
Basil is grown primarily in the United States and Egypt.

Traditional Ethnic Uses
Basil is widely used in Italian cuisine and is often paired with tomatoes. It is also used in Thai cooking. The herb complements meat, vegetables, cheese, and egg dishes.

Taste and Aroma Description
Basil has a sweet, herbal bouquet.

History/Region of Origin
Basil originated in India and Persia, and was both prized and despised by ancient peoples. Though its name means, “be fragrant,” Greeks hated it. However, the Romans loved it and made it a symbol of love and fertility and settlers in early America prized it. Today, Hindus plant it in their homes to bring happiness to the family.

Storage Tips
Store in cool, dark, dry places.

A Few Ideas to Get You Started
Basil tastes great in tomato and pasta dishes but it is also gives a sweet-scented, minty aroma when crumbled over baked chicken, lamb, or fish. It blends well with garlic, thyme, and oregano. Crush dried leaves with your hand or in a mortar and pestle to release the herb’s flavor. Start with 1/2 teaspoon for 4 servings; add more to taste.

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