Basil: (herb) Bright green leaves of an herb of the mint family. Special affinity for tomato flavored dishes. Basil is available in both fresh and dried forms. Fresh basil and dried basil are completely separate entities, and may not always be freely substituted for each other. Fresh basil is the key ingredient in making pesto.
The dried leaves and stems of an herb grown in the United States and North Mediterranean countries. Has an aromatic, leafy flavor. The flavor and aroma of basil is most intense during the summer months, when it is abundant. For flavoring tomato dishes and tomato paste, turtle soup; also use in cooking peas, squash, snap beans; sprinkle chopped over lamb chops and poultry. Since the oils in basil are highly volatile, it is best to add the herb near the end of the cooking process, so it will retain its maximum essence and flavor. There are two varieties: Turkish (1 to 2 inch long oval) and California (2 to 3 inch long narrow) leaves. The Turkish is said to have the better flavor.