Essential in Italian cooking, basil is an herb in the mint family. It is widely popular and can be used in various cuisines, including Thai, Indonesian, and Vietnamese. It is famous for being the main ingredient in traditional pesto and is also a favorite seasoning in tomato-based pasta sauces. Basil is not a seasonal herb but rather an annual one that is most often green in color, depending on which country you are from. Its smell is unique; it has a fragrant, sweet scent and also peppery taste. Large and somehow delicate leaves have a smooth texture marked with series of veins: presenting the prime part of the plant generally used in cooking. It’s an easy herb to grow at home and common addition to kitchen gardens. There are wide varieties of basil, over 60 of them, some of which are red or purple, and each has its own distinct and unique flavor. One of the most popular and common varieties is the sweet one. Thai basil is also used in various recipes because of its anise-tasty-like flavor; it is distinguishable from the regular, sweet basil by its purple stems and sturdy leaves. Other varieties are called precisely for the way they smell or taste, such as lemon basil, cinnamon basil, and spicy bush basil. Basil taste will depend on the variety; Sweet basil has a garden-fresh aroma with a subtle peppery flavor and a pinch-hint of mint. Other varieties can also taste citrus and spice, with Thai basil is a little more savory with a spicy licorice flavor.
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