Sweet basil is the king of herbs in many world cuisines, especially in Southeast Asia where it has been cultivated for over 5000 years.
There are many varieties of basil; sweet basil is perhaps the most familiar variety in the West. It has large leaves and a pungent taste - the main essential oil in sweet basil (eugenol) is also the oil in cloves.
Basil is the quintessential summer herb - strong and robust, it soaks up the sun and grows best in hot, dry climates. We've been cooking with it nearly every week - check out some recipes below...
Basil goes well in some desserts, too - try this refreshing Basil Sorbet or this entry from last year's ice cream contest: Vanilla Basil Ice Cream with Chopped Valhrona Chocolate.
What do you like to do with fresh basil? Do you have a pot growing in your kitchen?