Much like its cousin the Genovese basil (also known as sweet basil), Greek basil is delicious in pesto, tomato-based sauces or simply sprinkled on salads.
In Greece, basil’s culinary applications are usually secondarily to its use as an ornamental plant. You’ll find it overflowing pots on verandas and patios everywhere. Oftentimes, it is planted alongside vegetables, especially tomatoes, as it repels certain troublesome insects.
It’s flavor is somewhat more peppery and lemony than sweet basil (the one most commonly available in the US markets) and its also less likely to wilt so quickly when it comes to contact with hot foods.
It’s super easy to grow outdoors (depending on the temperature where you live) and does beautifully indoors in pots. This one is just getting started and will be coming inside within the next week or two to take its place on a sunny windowsill:
Pinch off the tops before they go to seed to encourage new growth and you’ll eventually have a dense plant that grows to about eight inches tall like this one that lives in my mom’s yard in Nafplio:
Then there’s this one that my mom grew that seriously resembles a small tree but that’s rather atypical:
Either way, it’s delicious, smells amazing and gives a nice shot of pretty green to any garden.