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Basil (Ocimum Basilicum), also known as St. Josephwort, is an annual herb grown in the United States. It stands 2-3 feet tall, with green stems and a woody base, and a square cross section. It has opposite leaves that are 2-3 inches long, with tiny purple or white flowers. They are arranged in flattened whorls that encircle the stems, one whorl at a time. Plants are leafy and branch freely with a pair of opposing branches in a flat plane, then another pair above in a plane perpendicular to the last, and so on. Basil prefers full sun, light to partial shade, and well drained soil, with regular watering. The leaves and stems are enjoyed in many culinary dishes.
Basil is the most popular of all the herbs. Its flavor has been described as spicy and peppery, with a hint of clove and mint. It goes well with olive oil, garlic, lemon, rosemary, and thyme. Even if you don't need the herb it is best to pinch off the stems before they go to flower. This keeps the plant growing vigorously and makes it branch more. Basil can be cut, dried, then stored in an airtight jar or cut and frozen in airtight bags.