Heirloom & Perennial Ltd

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Ocimum basilicum purpureum, Red Basil - Dark Opal


Dark purple bronze foliage. Vigorous with bright shiny lance shaped leaves and good flavour.

Developed by John Scarchuk and Joseph Lent at the University of Connecticut in the 1950s, with deep purple, sometimes mottled leaves.

Sow mid to late spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually free and quick, prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If growing basil outdoors, plant out after the last expected frosts.

Edible uses
Leaves and flowers - raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring or as a spinach, they are used especially with tomato dishes, pasta sauces, beans, peppers and aubergines. The leaves are normally used fresh but can also be dried for winter use. A very pleasant addition to salads, the leaves have a delightful scent of cloves. Use the leaves sparingly in cooking because the heat concentrates the flavour.
A refreshing tea is made from the leaves. The seed can be eaten on its own or added to bread dough as a flavouring. When soaked in water it becomes mucilaginous and can be made into a refreshing beverage called 'sherbet tokhum' in the Mediterranean.
An essential oil obtained from the plant is used as a food flavouring in mustards, sauces, vinegars etc.

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