african blue basil

I have a real aversion to anything with overtones of licorice…which is why I was so excited to find a basil that had no trace of that aftertaste.

african blue basil plant

As far as I know, the only way to get it is to grow it yourself, so I haunt the early spring farmers’ markets for plants. It roots easily, so pinching off a few sprigs and putting them in a glass of water on the windowsill can turn a couple of plants into many. For the two of us, five plants is about right.

african blue basil sprig

The leaves are much smaller than those on the commonest variety, so I snip them off into the food processor with a pair of scissors. The stems are purple, as are the undersides of the leaves, which have a rough texture. Because of the dark coloration, a pesto will not have the bright green you might expect from a regular pesto, but man, will it be delicious, especially if you are licorice-averse, as I am.

tomato/basil appetizer

A platter of cherry or other small tomatoes, halved and topped with a pesto made from this basil, makes for a tasty start to a meal. Because R has an aversion to pine nuts (much like my aversion to licorice, which he loves) I make my pesto with toasted walnuts. Wendy has created a venue for us to share the ways in which we enhance our gardens’ bounty. I’ve gotten some great ideas there. You can too.

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