Basil is commonly used fresh in cooked recipes. In general, it is added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavor. The fresh herb can be kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator
, or for a longer period in the freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water. The dried herb also loses most of its flavor, and what little flavor remains tastes very different, with a weak coumarin flavor, like hay.
The Chinese also use fresh or dried basils in soups
and other foods. In Taiwan, people add fresh basil leaves to thick soups. They also eat fried chicken
with deep-fried basil leaves. Basil (most commonly Thai basil) is commonly steeped in cream
to create an interesting flavor in ice cream or chocolates (such as truffles
). The leaves are not the only part of basil used in culinary applications, the flower buds have a more subtle flavor and they are edible.