Purple Basil

Did you know there are 60 + different types of basil?

And, did you know that basil is in the mint family?

I didn't either.

One variety you may not be familiar with is called purple opal. It has a slightly spicy taste with hints of clove, licorice, mint, and cinnamon. Along with funky flavor it adds a punch of color.

All fresh basil should be used within a few days. And, it dries well, too.

You can use purple basil interchangeably with regular basil, but here are a couple of recipes to get you started.

Purple Basil Parmesan Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbl sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup purple basil, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup skim milk
1 large egg
nonstick cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Cut butter into dry ingredients with a pastry blender until coarse. Stir in basil and cheese.

3. Beat milk and egg in a separate bowl. Add to flour mixture and stir until moist.

4. Turn out onto a floured surface, and pat into 1" thick circle. Cut with a 2" biscuit round cutter. Makes 12.

5. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray and bake for 15 minutes.

Purple Basil Lemonade

4 cups water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup loosely packed purple basil leaves
6 tbl sugar
4 cups ice
4 purple basil sprigs

1. Combine water and juice in a large bowl.

2. Grind sugar and basil together to release the oils and a paste forms. Add to the juice mixture and stir until sugar is dissolved.

3. Separate ice evenly into 4 glasses. Strain lemonade into each glass and discard solids. Garnish with basil sprigs.

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