Basil - Purple

Quick Facts

Type: Amethyst Improved Purple Basil
Availability: May
Quantity: Bunch
Use: Consumed raw or cooked
Grown:  Field
Grown by: Horticulture Research Station

Storage and Preparation

Short Term Storage: Fresh basil should be stored at room temperature.  Trim the ends of the stems of the basil.  Place them in a glass jar filled with cold water (much like a fresh flower bouquet). Place a plastic bag loosely (still allowing for ventilation) over the basil leaves at the top of the jar.
Long Term Storage: Basil leaves can be dried or frozen.  To dry leaves, tie in bunches and hang indoors in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight.  Leaves should dry in 5-10 days.  Leaves can also be dried in the oven.  Set oven temperature to lowest possible setting.  Place basil leaves on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Place cookie sheet in the oven with the door ajar to allow ventilation.  Keep leaves in oven until brittle.  If leaves turn brown, this means that they became too hot in the drying process and will not have flavor so should be discarded.  Once leaves are dry, store them in an air tight container for up to 6 months.  Basil can be frozen easily to preserve flavor and color.  Chop basil leaves finely and combine with water making a paste.  Pour paste into ice cube trays to store. Once the cubes are frozen solid, place them in plastic bag in fridge.  Basil cubes can keep for up to 1 year.  Alternatively, combine basil with oil (olive or vegetable) in a food processor to make a paste and pour paste into ice cube trays for later use.
Preparation: Wash leaves under cool running water to remove dirt and pat dry before cooking or eating.

Pairings and Nutrition

Pairing: Basil is the most commonly used fresh herb.  Its sweet but subtle flavor goes well with a wide range of foods.  Basil pairs with tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini.  It is the featured ingredient in a traditional pesto which goes well with breads and cheeses.  Basil is diverse in that it is utilized in many different types of cuisine such as Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, and Italian cooking.
Nutrition: Basil is very low in calories and high in vitamin K.

Basil Recipes

Purple Basil Parmesan Biscuits
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh purple basil
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 large egg
  • Cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  4. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  5. Stir in basil and cheese.
  6. Combine milk and egg in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  7. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist.
  8. Turn dough out onto a floured surface; pat to 1-inch-thick circle.
  9. Cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter into 12 biscuits.
  10. Place biscuits on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
  11. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven, and cool.

Tomato Basil Bruschetta

  • 8 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 loaf French bread, toasted and sliced


  1. In a bowl, toss together the tomatoes, basil, Parmesan cheese, and garlic. Mix in the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Serve on toasted bread slices.