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I was wondering what am I supposed to cut from basil leaves, do I only use the “blade” until the petiole or I should cut that too?

I know some things must be chopped in the right places because it may add sourness.

Also, can they be boiled or they should be eaten “raw”?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I always just give fresh basil a chop and toss it in. You can use fresh herbs raw or cooked in any fashion you wish and find delicious. They are fairly forgiving as long as you don't let them spoil or burn them.

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What about the basil 'buds' at the top of the stem? – Linda B Passauer 4 hours ago

You can roll the leaves and thinly slice them (chiffonade), that's my preferred method. I've never had an instance where I cut basil and made it sour though.

I've never heard of boiling them, but I assume you could get the essential oils out with that method and could make an infused water. You can fry the basil leaves in oil as well to make a crunchy topping!

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Thanks for that Chiffonade tip, I didn’t know about it. – Martín Marconcini Aug 29 '10 at 21:53
+1 for the chiffonade. It makes a very impressive presentation. Especially among those who don't know how to do it. – Sobachatina Aug 29 '10 at 22:06

You can use the entire leaf, and stem - here's the only warning: the stems are very strong and potent!! If you are going to dry them in an effort to use the entire plant, make sure that you chop up the stems very fine and mix with the leaves (as mentioned in other post - chiffonade), spread out the entire mixture and let dry completely. In a couple of days the mixture will have dried out to the point where you can crush them and store in a small container. The mixture will last months!!

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Thanks for the tips! – Martín Marconcini Aug 29 '10 at 21:42

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