Basil may be native to India and is thought to have been grown there for over 5,000 years. The Ancient Greeks were familiar with basil and has a long hsitory of use in Italian and Southeast Asian cuisine.
The flavor of basil is best when the leaves are fresh. Cooking or heating the leaves will change the flavor so add the leaves at the last minute to warm dishes.
Basil is one of the main ingredients in pesto, along with olive oil and garlic. You can also steep the leaves of basil in milk or cream and create basil flavored confections like chocolates or ice cream.
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