Basil has a pungent flavor and clove-like aroma. In general, herbs should be fresh looking, crisp and brightly-colored. Leaves will vary in color from green to reddish-purple. Basil is available year-round.
Avoid herbs that are wilted, have dry brown areas, or are pale or yellow in color. Slimy looking dark spots with small areas of mold indicate old product or poor handling.
If you are not going to use basil the same day you buy it, do not store it in the refrigerator. Temperatures below 48 F will turn basil black. Instead, put the stems into a glass of water as you would a plant cutting.
The name basil comes from the Greek, meaning "Kingly". The herb itself originates in India, where is has long been considered sacred.
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