Slide show: A guide to spices and herbs
Photograph of fresh basil leaves
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Basil, which belongs to the mint family, has a pungent, slightly sweet aroma. There are many kinds of basil, each with its own flavor and intensity, so experiment to see which you enjoy using. Basil is commonly used to season Italian tomato-based dishes, sauces and rubs. Basil pairs well with garlic and olives. Basil is widely used in Thai cuisine. Basil is also used to season meats, fish, pasta, stuffing, soups and vegetables. To release more flavor and aroma, crush dried basil, either by rubbing with your fingers or using a mortar and pestle. Fresh basil freezes well. Simply wash and dry well, then seal in plastic freezer bags.

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