This essential for Italian cooking and Asian stir-fries is commonly seen as green-leafed sweet basil but also comes in purple
opal, pungent Thai, and scented varieties, like lemon or cinnamon.
Season: Year-round; peaks June through August.
How to Choose Basil
Look for whole, smooth leaves that are aromatic, bright green, and free of black spots. Avoid basil that is wilting or has moldy stems.
How to Store Basil
If the basil comes with the roots attached, place the bunch in a glass filled with a few inches of water and leave at room temperature (avoid sunny spots). Otherwise, wrap the stems in a damp paper towel and refrigerate in a plastic or mesh bag. With either method, it should last up to 4 days.
How to Prepare Basil
Wash basil before using (it needs a little extra care, since it bruises easily).
How to Use Basil
Crush basil into a pesto or mayonnaise. Add whole leaves to soups and salads.
Real Simple Basil Recipes:
- Grilled Shrimp Panzanella With Basil
- Slow-Cooker Beef Ragù With Basil Gremolata
- Watermelon and Basil Iced Tea
- Pasta With Goat Cheese and Basil Oil
- Spicy Eggplant and Cauliflower With Basil
Fruits and vegetables at their peak right now.
Find out what's in season in your area right now, then locate a farmers' market near you.