Sweet basil has a complex, sweet, spicy aroma with notes of clove and anise. The flavor is warm, peppery, and clove-like with underlying mint and anise tones.
Basil leaves bruise and wilt easily, so avoid bunches with drooping or blackened leaves. Store for 2-3 days in a damp paper towel or plastic bag in the refrigerator vegetable crisper. One of the best ways to preserve basil is to puree the leaves with a little water or olive oil and freeze in ice-cube trays.
Some other common basils are Purple Basil best used with rice, grains, and salads. Bush Basil, also called Greek Basil is a compact bush with small leaves and pepper aroma. Cinnamon Basil is native to Mexico and has a pronounced, sweet scent with clear cinnamon notes and works well with bean and legume dishes along with spicy, stir-fried vegetables. African Blue basil has leaves that are mottled green-purple with purple flowers. It is strongly scented with peppery, clove, and mint notes. Use it with rice, vegetables, and meats. It is very good in potato salad and makes an outstanding pesto. This basil is a perennial as long as it is kept frost-free.