Ararat Basil Seeds (Ocimum basilicum)
Price for Package of 20 seeds.
Ararat basil can grow up to eighteen inches tall with thick, dark purple stems and oval to teardrop-shaped, toothed leaves. Its colorful foliage ranges from bright to deep purple with accents of green, depending on the growing conditions and environment. The tender leaves have a distinct anise aroma with the sweet and spicy notes of licorice. Sprigs of showy pinkish-purple blossoms emerge from the tip of the stems around mid-summer.
Ararat basil is available year-round with peak season in the summer.
Ararat basil is a fragrant purple variety of Ocimum basilicum, known for its mottled or bicolored foliage. It is an annual that can be grown year-round in temperate climates or indoors, but thrives in hot and humid conditions. Ararat basil is thought to be an heirloom variety from Israel. The multi-colored herb is used for both culinary uses and as an ornamental plant in gardens.
Basil is a good source of vitamin K, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. Basil is inherently high in antioxidant content. Ararat basil has a specific antioxidant compound called anthocyanin which lends this herb's trademark purple color. Basil is said to help aid digestion and to help ease the symptoms of emphysema and bronchitis. Oil of basil is used as both an aromatic and as an herbal remedy for coughs and colds. Research shows that basil has anti-inflammatory properties.
Ararat basil can be used like any purple basil variety, for either flavor or garnish. Add the colorful basil to salads, pasta sauces, or use to flavor vinegars or dressings. Ararat basil makes a colorful pesto that can be added to pizzas, pastas, sandwiches or marinades. Basil can be preserved by drying or placing in vinegar or oil. Fresh basil will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week when put in a perforated plastic bag.
In Jewish folklore, basil was said to provide strength while fasting. English royalty held basil in high regard for its both its aroma and its culinary attributes. British chefs took to calling basil “the king of the herbs" due to the popularity of the herb with the royals.
Ararat basil was developed in Israel, very near to where basil originated in Asia. The name “Ararat” is Hebrew, and refers to a mountain range in the Bible where Noah’s ark is said to have crashed. Basil originated in ancient Persia and India, and has been naturalized around the globe. Ararat basil is most often available in seed form and is therefore sold primarily by seed companies. The Middle Eastern basil variety will likely be found at local farmer's markets and in home gardens in the United States, Europe and Asia.