Basil Opal (Red Basil)
Storage Tips: In general, fresh herbs should be stored in the refrigerator. Wrap Basil in a damp paper towel or place it in a tall glass with about 1 inch of water in the bottom.
Rinse and thoroughly dry basil leaves before using.
Basil can also be preserved in oil or frozen to maximize its shelf life. Chop fresh basil leaves and place in clean ice cub trays. Cover with oil, water, or stock and freeze. When ready to use, simply remove a few cubes and keep the rest in the freezer.
Usage Ideas: With its beautiful purple color and distinct sweet flavor, Opal Basil is the perfect addition to any salad. Try it with your favorite fruit salad and drizzle with honey.
Opal basil is also great when added to a scampi sauce. Chop up a handful of fresh basil leaves and toss in to a chicken or shrimp scampi recipe right before service.
Basil contains volatile oils that can be diminished by high heat and long cooking, so add it to your favorite dish at the end for maximum flavor
Combine any variety of basil with garlic and olive for a quick and easy pesto
For an Asian twist, try adding Thai and Opal Basil to your favorite stir fry. These flavors pair well with eggplant, cabbage, and chili peppers
Try adding a few fresh Basil leaves to your favorite cup of hot tea.
Fun Facts: Opal Basil, also called purple basil is another variety of the common green basil (7)
Basil is a good source of vitamin K, iron, and calcium. It also contains the compounds eugenol and rosmarinic acid, which increase the production of dopamine and serotonin in the brain helping to boost ones mood (2)
Do you suffer from motion sickness? Folklore claims that infusing fresh Basil leaves into hot tea or cold water and drinking it before your travel will help (3)
In ancient times, the seeds from Basil plants were thought to be antidote to snake bites. Victims would eat the seeds and place them over the open wounds (7)
All varieties of Basil are actually members of the peppermint family. Their leaves resemble those of large mint (5)
While it is now cultivated all over the world, the different varieties of Basil were originally found in Asia and Africa (7)