Purple Ruffles Basil
Inventory, lb : 0
This item was last sold on : 05/26/22
Purple Ruffles basil is comprised of a central stem with 5 to 7 branches that produce additional offshoots at each node with large leaves that form in opposite formations. The herb can grow to be a large variety, bearing sizeable leaves that average 7 to 8 centimeters in length and 5 to 6 centimeters in diameter. Purple Ruffles basil leaves have distinct serrated and jagged edges and a crinkled, textured appearance, giving the variety a variable, uneven, and fringed appearance. The leaves are also glossy, crisp, and pliable with a dark purple, almost black hue, sometimes tinged with green. The plant’s stems showcase a four-sided, square nature, and the leaves emit a sweet and aromatic clove-like fragrance. In the summer, 5 to 6 white to purple-pink tubular flowers form in whorls on elongated stems. The flowers are edible and have a sweet, mild, and vegetal flavor. Purple Ruffles basil offers a mild, herbaceous, spice-filled flavor with subtle anise, cinnamon, licorice, and sweet basil nuances.
Purple Ruffles basil is available in the summer.
Purple Ruffles basil, botanically classified as Ocimum basilicum var. purpurascens, is a sweet basil variety belonging to the Lamiaceae family. The bushy herb can reach 46 to 61 centimeters in height and earned its ruffled moniker from the plant’s heavily textured leaves and dark purple appearance. There are many varieties of basil, but Purple Ruffles basil was developed in the 20th century as a stable cultivar with a robust and fast-growing nature. Purple Ruffles basil is prized for its ornamental and culinary appeal. The plant is grown commercially for chefs to utilize as an unexpected ingredient in savory or sweet preparations, and it is also a favored home garden cultivar for its visually striking nature. Purple Ruffles basil has more pigmentation within the leaves than the common opal basil, and the variety is designed to resist bolting. It is important to note that some Purple Ruffles basil plants may appear green, depending on the climate and soil the plant is grown in. Researchers have conducted studies and have determined that approximately 8 in 1000 plants may display variegated coloring or mostly green leaves.
Purple Ruffles basil is a good source of fiber to regulate the digestive tract, vitamin E to protect the body against free radical damage, vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning, and vitamin C to strengthen the immune system. The leaves are also rich in anthocyanins, pigmented compounds that contribute antioxidant-like properties to reduce inflammation. Beyond protecting the body, the purple pigments are used in the food industry as a natural coloring for food dyes.
Purple Ruffles basil has a sweet and warm, spice-like flavor well suited as an edible garnish or flavoring in fresh and cooked preparations. The toothed, textured leaves are often used raw as an attractive garnish, and young stems and leaves can be cut from the plant and topped over main dishes, desserts, and cocktails. Purple Ruffles basil has a bold appearance and taste, and the leaves can be used in most recipes calling for sweet basil. The leaves can be tossed into salads, layered into bruschetta, lightly torn over soups, incorporated into pasta, or used as a pizza topping. Purple Ruffles basil can also be combined into gazpacho, blended into pesto, added to crème fraiche, sprinkled over seafood, or infused into oils and vinegar. When the leaves are incorporated into cooked preparations, they retain their purple hue. Purple Ruffles basil is also utilized in cocktails, stirred into lemonade, or blended into smoothies. In addition to the leaves, the flowers are edible and act as a garnish in soups, salads, main dishes, and desserts. Purple Ruffles basil pairs well with nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and pine, roasted meats including poultry, steak, and turkey, seafood such as shrimp, crab, and white fish, mushrooms, artichokes, tomatoes, carrots, parsnips, and eggplant. Unwashed Purple Ruffles basil leaves should be used immediately for the best quality and flavor and will keep up to five days when stored in a plastic bag with a paper towel in the refrigerator. The leaves can also be chopped and frozen in olive oil or hung upside down and dried for extended use.
Breeder Ted Torrey commented at the 1989 International Herb Growers and Marketers Association conference that Purple Ruffles basil was one of the fastest breeding projects in his career with Burpee. Torrey was tasked with developing new herb varieties for Burpee’s expanding catalogs in the 20th century, and he spent years understanding how basil varieties easily crossbred, creating a common joke among breeders, labeling the herb as “promiscuous.” Torrey first developed green ruffles basil, and eventually, in 1984, he made Purple Ruffles basil from crossing green ruffles and dark opal basil. Despite the variety being created in 1984, it took three years to produce enough seeds to meet the demand for the purple basil to be released to commercial markets in 1987. Purple Ruffles basil was also awarded the All-America Selection Flower Winner in 1987 to coincide with the herb’s release. The prestigious AAS award recognizes plants with outstanding growth characteristics, and Purple Ruffles basil was highlighted for its pigmented and ruffled, ornamental leaves and quality flavor for oils, lotions, and culinary use. Winning the AAS award in 1987 was also significant for the variety as it was being compared to its parent cultivar, the famous dark opal basil, establishing itself as a worthwhile, new cultivar for home and commercial gardens.
Purple Ruffles basil was developed in the United States in the late 1970s by breeder Ted Torrey, former director of research at the W. Atlee Burpee and Company. Torrey spearheaded an herb breeding program for the Burpee Company and conducted over thirty years of research on genetic delinquency and herb variability. Purple Ruffles basil was bred in 1980 from a cross between a dark opal and a green ruffles variety and was first recorded as a new breed in 1984. The variety was later commercially released in 1987 and became a favored specialty culinary and ornamental cultivar. Today Purple Ruffles basil is cultivated by select growers for its unique visual appeal and flavor and is primarily found through distributors and farmer’s markets. The basil variety is also frequently grown in home gardens to add color and dimension to green herb landscapes.
Recipes that include Purple Ruffles Basil. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Lins Food||Salsa Morada Fresca (Fresh Purple Salsa with Tomatillos and Purple Basil)|
|Burpee||Purple Ruffles Basil Vinegar|
|Fine Cooking||Grilled Corn & Tomato Salad with Basil Oil|
|Just a Pinch Recipes||Purple Pesto|