A leafy herb from the mint family with a licorice-clove flavor. Basil is usually green, though there are purple varieties, such as Opal Basil. Lemon basil, anise basil, clove basil and cinnamon basil all have flavors similar to their names. Basil is a key ingredient in Mediterranean cooking.
Season: July - October
How to select: Available year round, but true harvest is summer. Look for even colored leaves.
How to store: Refrigerate wrapped in damp paper towels and plastic bag for up to 4 days or stems down in a glass of water with plastic over the leaves for about a week with regular water changing. Store the dried herb for 6 months in a cool dark place.
Matches well with: cheese, chicken, duck, eggplant, eggs, fish, lamb, liver, olive oil, onions, pasta, pesto, pizza, pork, potatoes, rabbit, salads, shellfish, soups, sweet peppers, tomatoes, veal, vegetables, vinegars, zucchini, tomato sauce
Substitutions: 1 tsp dried basil = 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil = 1 tbsp chopped fresh summer savory; 1 tsp dried basil = start with 1/2 tsp marjoram, oregano, thyme or tarragon then add more if necessary;