Basil is native to India but is found in cuisines all over the world. Basil has a sweet and powerful flavor that is most commonly used in Italian cooking but can be found often in Chinese and Thai recipes as well.
Add a pinch of basil to marinara or pasta sauce for a sweet kick in flavor. It is best to add at the last moment as the flavor is easily cooked away. A classic summer salad that uses basil is a caprese salad. To make, combine fresh tomatoes, torn basil, slices of fresh mozzarella, olive oil and salt. For a sweet twist, steep in cream or milk to create a striking flavor in ice cream or chocolates.
Basil is thought to have antioxidant, antiviral and antimicrobial properties as well.