Basil, Red Rubin

The 'Red Rubin' basil has rich, dark purple leaves that are both culinary and ornamental in the garden. It is a hybrid who's parent is the Dark Opal basil. Considered more uniform in color than other purple basils with a clove-like spiciness flavor. The leaves are smooth, flat, and large, about 3-4 inches. Foliage growth is dense and full on this compact, sweet basil. Full sun produces darker leaves, but can produce adequate color with afternoon shade. Grown as a tender annual in the garden, most gardeners re-plant new starter basils every spring.

Aside form 'Red Rubin's' wonderful foliage, the pink blossoms are aromatic as well. It's a garden companion for honey bees and butterflies. Plant between rosemary and oregano for a striking contrast in the garden.

Adding basil to healthy stir-fries, especially when it comes to Thai cuisine, is very popular. A recipe using eggplant, chili peppers, tofu, cabbage, fresh 'Red Rubin' basil and cashew nuts, makes a wonderful dish. Serve with steamed rice or egg noodles. You may substitute your favorite variety of basil to this recipe. Also adds color and flavor to tossed salads and herbal vinegars. Siam Queen basil, or Thai basil is a top favorite for this dish, too.

Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K and a very good source of iron, calcium and vitamin -A. In addition, basil is a good source of dietary fiber, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium. Best to plant basil well after frost warnings are past in early spring. Frost cloth may be required if night temperatures get near freezing.

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