The ‘king of herbs’, Basil is a great complement to a variety of dishes.
As a member of the mint family, basil is a most refreshing herb. Originating in India and finding its true calling in the Mediterranean, basil is a superb complement to vegetables, cheeses, meats, and even desserts. Grown many ways by many people over the years, the ancient Greeks and Romans even believed that the only way to make basil grow was to curse at it while seeds were being planted. Thankfully the basil survived that treatment and today there are over 60 varieties each with distinct characteristics. With high levels of vitamin A and magnesium, basil is not only delicious but healthy too.
Basil can become bitter when the plant has ‘bolted’, or flowered, and should thus be harvested before this point. Avoid any basil with evidence of flowers. A bunch of basil should keep for a week in the refrigerator, or try keeping on your counter with the ends of the stalks placed in water. Excess basil can easily be frozen for storage, though it may blacken over time.