Basil is one of the three most common herbs used in Greece cuisine. Its aroma conjures images of summer when you’ll spot basil plants on most balconies or windowsills.

An annual that thrives in warm climates, basil arrived in Europe via India and the Middle East. Its name derives from the spot where Constantine the Great is said to have found the Holy Cross. The herb is thus given to parishioners on Orthodox holidays and used to annoint the faithful with Holy Water.

Basil’s flavor is slightly sharp, like a cross between pepper and mint.

Two main types of basil are used in cooking: broad- and narrow-leafed. Broad-leafed basil has a more intense flavor.

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