In Greek basil means “king“ because it grew on the ancient tombs of kings. Romanians believed that basil warded off a dragon attack. In ancient Italy, though, basil meant love.
Using it fresh: For the best flavor, be sure to add basil towards the end of the cooking process. (Heat kills off the flavor!)
How to store it: The best way to keep fresh basil is in a small vase or jar with water in direct sunlight and change the water daily. If you bought it from the grocery store and the stems aren’t long enough to keep in water, you can store it in the fridge wrapped in a wet paper towel, kept inside a ziplock bag.
[My greengrocer keeps his basil for sale wrapped in wet newspaper.]
How to pick it: You must always pick basil from where the leaves intersect on the stem. That way, new leaves will be able to grow back easily. (see above)
How to dry it: If you have tons of fresh basil this summer that you’d like to use dried throughout the winter, simply place the leaves between two sheets of paper towels, being careful not to overlap them. Once they’re dried, place them in a jar and store in a cool, dry spot.
I hope this was helpful! Come by the facebook page later today for a basil recipe that will impress your guests and cheer up sad-looking bread. :)
P.S. And for more herb ideas, check out Four Fresh Herbs To Try Now!