Everything I read tells me how to select bunches of fresh Basil in the grocery store. In this part of the country, I have never seen it fresh no matter what time of the year it may be.
I can look out over the garden of this past season and see the dead stumps and stems of broccoli, cauliflower and kohlrabi. But standing tall and proud are all the Basil plants I planted throughout the beds. The bugs ate all the squash and then the cucumbers (after the cool weather crops) but no bugs ever touched the Basil. If the grasshoppers tasted it, they didn't come back for seconds. I harvested a double handful of the greenery about a week ago and enjoy the aroma whenever I want. So nice. I have found many ways to save the fresh herb by freezing it in water but my freezer space is at a premium. My batch is now completely dry and will go into a glass jar to save it for later use.
I noticed that one source mentions that you can only put fresh Basil into the recipe just as it is finished with any cooking since the herb loses its flavor by cooking. Okay, I'll remember that.
Since it is a member of the mint family, the flavor is said to be mildly of licorice and cloves. To me, it is just part of the sage and oregano and savory needed for a good spaghetti sauce. This is one of my first herb gardens with any success and I have never used any herbs in cooking that were not dried. I still have some on the shelf from what I grew about 6 years ago. The aroma is more faint and mild indeed.
I would have to know a bit more about the purple opal, lemon or cinnamon varieties before I would want to try them. The best notes I have read say to keep the fresh bundles best by standing them in fresh water as you would a bunch of flowers. The could last even longer if you had space in the refrigerator; cover with plastic wrap and keep cold; conditions you would expect to find in a florist shop.
FROM CUTTING BOARD TO SERVING DISH
Enjoy these great Kraft website recipes: