My new favorite garden jewel is the deep purple basil recently added to my otherwise green collection of herbs.
It all started over a drink. I was served a summer cocktail garnished with a mysterious dark purple sprig that caught my attention. The fragrant sprig was Amethyst Basil. I decided then and there to make a spot for this plant in my tiny herb garden. Here are four different purple basil varieties to consider.
Above: The only purple Genovese-type basil, Amethyst Basil has large, thick turned down leaves similar to the well-known Sweet Genovese Basil; $4.50 for a 2.5-inch pot at Pantry Garden Herbs.
Above: Purple Dark Opal Basil offers a slightly spicier, almost licorice or anise flavor. The leaves are upright and have some green; $4.50 for a 2.5-inch pot at Pantry Garden Herbs. Purple Dark Opal Basil Seeds are available for $1.75 per packet at D. Landreth Seed Co.
Above: Another purple-colored basil variety is Red Rubin Basil with a clove-like spiciness flavor. It is more uniform in color than other purple basils; $4.50 for a 2.5 inch pot at Pantry Garden Herbs. Red Rubin Basil Seeds are available for $3.45 per packet of 100 at Johnny’s Seeds.
Above: Purple Ruffles Basil has crinkled leaves with ruffled edges. This is said to be a complex flavored basil with a combination of sweet basil, anise and cinnamon. Great to add to salads. It can grow in shadier areas than sweet basil; $3.45 for a packet of 100 seeds at Johnny’s Seeds.
Above: Purple Basil Lemonade, recipe and photo via Cooking Light.
Finally, get more ideas on how to successfully plant, grow, and care for sweet basil with our Sweet Basil: A Field Guide.
Interested in other edible plants for your garden? Get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various edible plants (including flowers, herbs and vegetables) with our Edible Plants: A Field Guide.