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Red Lettuce Basil
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|Loo Loo Farms|
Red Lettuce basil has big, crinkled leaves that grow to around 10 centimeters long and 7 centimeters wide. Its leaves are either a deep maroon color, or are bright green with maroon accents and spots. The leaves are aromatic, and offer a mild, sweet basil flavor with hints of cinnamon and pepper. They have the texture of a lettuce leaf with a crisp bite. Red Lettuce basil grows on a bushy plant of around 1 meter in height, and bears small, edible white or lilac flowers.
Red Lettuce basil is available in the summer months.
Red Lettuce basil is one of the largest varieties of basil. It is a rare, lettuce-leafed variety of sweet basil that is botanically classified as Ocimum basilicum. Like other basils, it is used widely in Italian cooking as a flavoring and garnish, but is favored because of its color and size. Red lettuce basil is not commonly sold outside of Italy, though it can sometimes be found in specialty stores in Europe and the United States.
Red Lettuce basil contains vitamins A and C, as well as magnesium, calcium, iron and potassium.
Red Lettuce basil can be used in place of other sweet basil varieties in salads, soups, tomato sauces and pastas. Its large size lends well for use in sandwiches, wraps, and pizzas, and it can be paired with tomatoes and mozzarella cheeses. It can be combined with pine nuts to make a striking-colored pesto. To use as a garnish, chop Red Lettuce basil into strands, and serve atop dishes like bruschetta. A good wine complement for Red Lettuce basil is chardonnay. To store Red Lettuce basil, wrap the leaves in a moist paper towel and keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where they will last for a few days.
Basil in general is used as a culinary herb, but it had many medicinal uses in the past. In ancient Rome, it was used to treat digestive problems and to counteract poison. It is a symbol of love in Italian culture and it is said that if a woman places a sprig or pot of basil on her balcony, she is inviting a suitor to call on her.
Red Lettuce basil is grown in Italy. Its exact origins are unknown, but lettuce-leafed varieties of basil have been cultivated since at least the 1800s. Red Lettuce Basil falls under the Napoletano variety of basil, which are slow to grow and prefer hot, sunny conditions.
Recipes that include Red Lettuce Basil. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Garden Mentors||Lettuce-Basil Perfect for Sandwiches|