We’re going to vary the aromatic garden a bit with a variety of purple basil that not only offers a different color than the typical green. In addition to being purple, it has a slightly different aromatic background and flavor, even a little spicy! Let’s discover purple basil.
There are many varieties of basil
It’s obvious. There are many varieties. The two most well-known differences are small leaf basil (the one used in pesto) and broad leaf basil (my favorite). Even within the broad leaf basil, there are distinctions as well. One of the most famous is the one called “Dark Opal” or “Purple opal”, but there are others like “Red rubin”. Here are some examples:
Other varieties are lemon basil, lime, anise, spicy or cinnamon. Each with a very different flavor profile. More intense, fresher, more lemony… A world to discover.
Let us recall the uses and the properties of the basil
-Obvious culinary use thanks to its characteristic aroma, if only by moving the leaves. It is heady.
– Mosquito Repellent. Mosquitoes do not like the volatile compounds in fresh basil.
– In the orchard or garden, basil provides (slight) protection against aphid attacks on nearby plants. Tomatoes usually benefit greatly, although the trade-off may be whitefly.
Notable differences between purple basil and common basil.
– The ornamental nature of its purple buds and leaves. Even if you don’t want it as a spice or edible, its bright, distinct color has very attractive decorative value.
– Its growth is slower.
– Its bloom is overall more attractive than the white bloom of normal basil.
– More intense aromatic profile with spicy touches.
Differences in aromas and flavors of holy basil
Purple basil arouses slightly more intense aromas than the green varieties. All of them, when shaken thoroughly, end up giving off a clove-like aroma. In the case of purple basil, it is more intense. It also has minty undertones and is a bit more pungent.
Read more >> Arugula is another aromatic herb that has more intense and even spicier varieties.
Recipe for purple basil flavored vinegar
– Take 2 or 3 stems with purple basil leaves of about 10-15 cm.
– Put them in a one liter bottle.
– Fill it with white wine or cider vinegar or mix them together to completely coat the basil. Some people even add red fruits like raspberries.
– Close the bottle and store it in a cool, dark place for a minimum of one week and a maximum of two months, depending on how strong you want the vinegar to be.
– From time to time (every week), shake the bottle lightly so that it becomes homogeneous.
– Strain the vinegar and reintroduce one or two sprigs of fresh basil.
The color is spectacular! And we’re not even talking about the taste.
In addition to the aromatic, let’s not rule out its purple beauty
Purple-leaved plants are very attractive because of their unusualness. In the plant world, having something other than the ubiquitous green catches our eye. There are several examples of purple leaf that we have talked about in this blog but these cannot be eaten:
With purple basil we add another one to the list and it can also be eaten. All advantages. And as if that were not enough, we have a pink bloom as opposed to the usual white bloom of the basil.
Growing conditions for holy basil
In general, like all basil plants, they need protection from cold and wind, well-drained soil, light and heat. They are perfect for indoor growing as long as we maintain high humidity and lighting. Outdoors, it can be grown in tropical locations.
Light and temperatures
This is a variety of basil that tolerates slightly cooler climates. In fact, in hot climates, it loses its purple pigmentation and its leaves turn green. This basil can withstand temperatures close to 0ºC for short periods.
In any case, in general, it should not go below 10ºC, its optimal growth being between 15 and 25ºC.
It needs a good daily exposure to the sun, both in time and intensity. Find the sunniest room in the house to install it. It tolerates direct exposure well. It needs 6 to 8 hours of exposure per day.
If it is in the garden, orient it to the south and near crops like tomatoes.
The only requirement is that the soil drains well and retains some moisture. They may seem like two opposing conditions, but they are not. This can be achieved with the right substrate mixes. Sand or perlite will help the substrate to drain.
– Vermiculite or peat helps to retain water in the substrate.
– Perlite or sand help drain water from the substrate.
– In the orchard, mulching can be done with straw or prunings (RCW mulching) to maintain humidity.
The humidity in the substrate must be almost constant. Do not let the substrate dry out too much between two waterings. If your basil is potted indoors, you will have to be careful about the frequency of watering. Except in tropical climates, homes are dry and you will need to water more frequently than outdoors.
A wet substrate is not the same as a wet or waterlogged substrate.
However, overwatering can lead to certain diseases and pests. The white fly is generally frequent.
This is an essential task in any basil plant. By wanting only the leaves, one must “avoid” the reproductive state of the plant unless one wants to obtain seeds. Letting it generate seeds means diverting resources and energy to flowering and fruiting, reducing vegetative growth. This leads to a substantial change in the composition of the aromas, which become more bitter.