The word basil come from the Greek βασιλεύς (basileus), meaning "king". Basil is still considered the "king of herbs" by many cookery authors.
Basil is commonly used fresh in cooked recipes. In general, it is added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavour.
The fresh herb can be kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or for a longer period in the freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water.
Basil is a highly fragrant plant whose leaves are used as a seasoning herb for many different types of foods.
Basil has become one of the most recognizable herbs ever since pesto, the mixture of basil, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese, has become popular.
Basil has round leaves that are oftentimes pointed.
They are green in colour, although some varieties feature hints of red or purple. Basil looks a little like peppermint, which is not surprising since they belong to the same plant family.
There are more than 60 varieties of basil, all of which differ somewhat in appearance and taste.
While the taste of sweet basil is bright and pungent, other varieties also offer unique tastes: lemon basil, anise basil and cinnamon basil all have flavours that subtly reflect their name. The scientific name for basil is Ocimum basilicum.