Purple basil is less common than its traditional green counterpart, but with an uplifting, punchy flavour and its rich, show stopping colour we are so excited to bring it to our menu this autumn. Our Purple basil is grown specially for us on a family-run farm in Verona, it is then made into our fabulous purple pesto exclusively for our restaurants!
When we launched our Purple Basil Pesto Genovese dish last Autumn, we gave away seeds with every dish to grow your own at home. If you fancy getting green fingered and growing some at home why not buy the seeds online and then follow our handy tips below?
Each of the seed sticks will grow into a reasonable sized plant so each will need their own pot. With five seed sticks in each packet you will have plenty of purple basil!
First you need to fill a 9cm pot with some coarse soil about an inch and a half from the top. Basil likes to grow in soil with good drainage so you could pop some small pebbles in the bottom to keep it free draining.
Water the pot ever so lightly, taking care not to over-water, then, using your finger, poke a hole into the soil in the middle, making a little well. Push the seed stick into the hole and cover with a centimetre of soil.
Place your pot near a window with plenty of light; basil is a true sun lover and craves 7-9 hours of daylight making it the perfect windowsill herb! You should begin to see seedlings within the first couple of weeks of planting.
When you have a Purple Basil plant of your own
Single leaves can be cut for quick, immediate use without causing any damage to the plant, snipping close to the stem is best.
To check whether the plant is in need of watering, poke a finger into the soil about an inch deep, if the soil is still dry at that level then water the surrounding soil sparingly (try not to wet the leaves as they may scorch in sunlight).
Pinch out any flowers that may grow, this will keep the Basil focusing on its leaf production, getting you a strong and full plant.
We’d love you to share your purple basil plants with us! Use the hashtag #EatLikeAnItalian and tag us at @askitalian on social media!