Keep in mind; you don’t cut whole stems from the plant when harvesting small amounts. Basil is a fragrant herb with a distinctive flavor that many people enjoy. Basil is an annual herb that belongs to the mint family. At the end of the season, though, you can try to keep it alive by moving potted basil indoors . Basil (/ ˈ b æ z əl /, also US: / ˈ b eɪ z əl /; Ocimum basilicum), also called great basil, is a culinary herb of the family Lamiaceae (mints).. You can use pretty much any herbs and spices with them and not go wrong. It’s an essential ingredient in Italian cuisine, but it is also used in Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisines. Basil is likely native to India and is widely grown as a kitchen herb. Basil, annual herb of the mint family, grown for its aromatic leaves. However, sweet basil is meant to live its life cycle within one year and thereafter go to seed. It has a sweet, fragrant smell and a unique peppery taste. It’s also a good idea when collecting small amounts, to snip the ends of branches on the plant as you pick. You truly can’t go wrong with a batch of Strawberry-Basil Margaritas; they’re a guaranteed win. Harvesting basil in small amounts is easy. It is a tender plant, and is used in cuisines worldwide. The various types have different flavors. We also just love the sweet and savory two-punch combo of pairing whole leaves of basil with summer fruit — a favorite dish this time of year. When you’re cooking and decide basil would go great with your recipe, you pluck the basil leaves you want. Basil is native to tropical regions from central Africa to Southeast Asia. Basil is the star ingredient in traditional pesto sauce and is also readily used in tomato-based pasta sauces. Learn more about basil in this article. The leaves are used fresh or dried to flavor meats, fish, salads, and sauces; basil tea is a stimulant.