Purple basil tastes very similar to green basil though its flavour and aroma are not as bright. It adds colour to dishes and can be used as a salad leaf in a mixed salad. It add a reddish purple colour to drinks and vinegars. It’s hard to find so you may have to grow it at home (see the video below) – we found our little pots in Marks & Spencers in May when it is in season.
How to cook with Purple Basil
– Substitute purple basil for any recipe where you use basil from Italian pesto to Thai soups.
– Make Purple Basil lemonade: Bash a quarter of a bunch of purple basil with 5 tablespoons of caster sugar in a bowl or mortar and pestle (or use a blender). Add 100ml fresh lemon juice and stir or blend. Strain the mixture into a jug with 500ml of iced water. Serve with a basil leaf floating in each glass. You can also use cider instead of water for an alcoholic Purple Basil and Cider Cocktail – omit the lemon juice, grind the caster sugar above with purple basil leaves and add to the cider. You can also add the muddled basil and sugar mixture to gin or vodka (also omitting the lemon juice).
– Purple Basil Vinegar: Wash the leaves and stems and add to a sterilised bottle to which you have added white wine vinegar. Seal the bottle, shake and leave for a few weeks in a dark place. Shake the bottle whenever you remember to. Strain into a sterilised bottle and you have Purple Basil Vinegar to use in salad dressings or in stews. Store it in the fridge.
WATCH THE VIDEO TO LEARN HOW TO GROW YOUR OWN PURPLE BASIL
Photograph copyright foodpixies.com