Organic Basil Leaves
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Our organic basil is an herb in the mint (Lamiaceae) family that is essential in Italian cooking, although it is also used in a variety of other types of cuisines including Thai, Indonesian, and Vietnamese. It is known for being the main ingredient in traditional pesto and is also a favorite seasoning in tomato-based pasta sauces. It has a fragrant, sweet smell and peppery taste.
Basil "Ocimum basilicum", is native to Asia (India, Pakistan, Iran, Thailand) and can be found growing wild in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. Because of its popularity, basil is often referred to as the "king of the herbs". Basil has several name derivations and beliefs associated with it. The comon name basil may be derived from the Greek words basileus meaning "king." or basilikon meaning "royal." A Latin word, basiliscus, refers to "basilisk" a mythical fire-breathing dragon that was so repulsive it could kill with just a glance. According to Roman legend, basil is the antidote to the venom of the basilisk. The botanical name Ocimum is derived from the Greek meaning "to be fragrant".
In the 1600's, the English used basil as a flavoring in their food and also as an insecticide. It was hung in doorways to ward off flies and other unwanted pests (evil spirits). Italians used basil as the sign of love. A pot of basil placed on the balcony meant that a woman was ready for her suitor to arrive. And, if he brought a sprig of basil, she would fall in love with him. It was also worn by a courting young man to signal to a woman that he had serious intentions. In India, Hindus believed that if a leaf of basil was buried with them, it would get them into heaven, thus the popularity of holy basil. Basil was also sacred to the Gods in India, Krishna, and Vishnu. In America, basil has been grown for over 200 years. It was air dried or preserved in layers of salt and kept in earthenware crocks.
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