Basil, Purple Dark Opal (Ocimum basilicum) is a variety of basil known for its deep purple leaves. It is a popular culinary herb that belongs to the Lamiaceae family. Purple Dark Opal basil has stunning deep purple or burgundy leaves, making it an attractive addition to herb gardens and ornamental plantings. The leaves are smooth and slightly glossy, and they have a crinkled or ruffled texture.
Flavor: The flavor of Purple Dark Opal basil is similar to that of sweet basil, which is characterized by its fresh, aromatic, and slightly spicy taste. However, Purple Dark Opal basil also has hints of clove and anise in its flavor profile.
Culinary Uses: Like other basil varieties, Purple Dark Opal basil is primarily used as a culinary herb. Its vibrant color makes it a popular choice for garnishing dishes, adding a visually appealing touch. The leaves can be used in salads, as a topping for pizzas and pasta, or incorporated into various recipes to infuse the dish with its distinctive flavor.
Growing Conditions: Purple Dark Opal basil, like other basil varieties, thrives in warm and sunny conditions. It prefers well-drained soil and requires regular watering. It can be grown from seeds or propagated from cuttings. With proper care, it can be a productive and decorative addition to your garden.
Health Benefits: Basil, including Purple Dark Opal basil, is known for its potential health benefits. It contains essential oils, antioxidants, and nutrients that may have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and immune-boosting properties. Basil is also a good source of vitamins A, K, and C, as well as minerals like calcium and iron.
When using Purple Dark Opal basil in cooking, the leaves are typically added fresh to recipes near the end of cooking to preserve their flavor and color. The leaves can also be dried or frozen for later use.
Overall, Purple Dark Opal basil is a visually striking and flavorful herb variety that can be enjoyed both for its culinary uses and ornamental appeal.