Fresh Sweet Basil
Choose 1, 2, or 5lbs
Available year round
Sweet basil (aka Italian basil) has a sweet, yet peppery clove-anise-mint flavor prized in both Italian and Southeast Asian cuisines. It is a delicate herb with a wide variety of applications and pairs well with food in almost any category, be it meat, poultry, seafood, fruit, or vegetables. There are roughly 400 leaves per pound and a small amount of stem is included.
All basil varieties are best stored wrapped in paper towels, placed in a zip top bag, and kept in the warmest part of your refrigerator (frequently near the light).
For long term storage of Italian basil we recommend freezing whole leaves individually following the instructions in How to Freeze Better at Home, then moving them to an air-tight container in the freezer for long term storage. Freezing will likely make the basil go limp and damage its color, but should preserve its flavor.
Up to one week fresh, several months frozen.
RECIPES & TIPS
Because basil is so delicate, it is best served either raw or very lightly cooked (added at the end of the cooking process). It bruises easily, so we recommend tearing the leaves, using them whole, or cutting them into a chiffonade.
Sweet basil is a staple ingredient in many classic Italian dishes, including caprese salad, pesto pasta sauce, and pizza. It can also be used in Southeast Asian food, particularly curries and soups.
For unusual dessert options, consider using sweet basil (steeped or as a puree) in an ice cream, custard or gastrique sauce.