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Krapao Red (Thai Holy Basil)

Ocimum spp.

Grown by: Truelove Seeds Farm in Glen Mills, PA

  • $4.00


Intensely aromatic, slightly spicy holy basil used in Thai cooking, traditionally in dishes such as Pad Krapao. This branching, geometric and narrow-leaved holy basil makes a low bush, reaching about 20" in height in our experience. Its distinct, clove-like aroma perfumed the air whenever we'd brush past it in the field. Sports handsome, deep fuschia to dark red stems and flower stalks, covered in tiny pink blooms and abundant green foliage. Thrives in heat and prefers full sun.

This seed came to us through our friend and previous apprentice Heidi Ratanavanich, who has this to share about their ancestral herb:

"When I eat Pad Krapao, minced pork stir fry with Krapao, topped with a fried egg and a side of Nam Prik Pla (fish sauce, lime juice, garlic), I feel Thailand. For a long time, I thought Krapao was the same as Thai Basil (Horappaa), which has a different flavor from a totally different plant. On a trip to my mom's hometown in Thailand, Sappaya, my aunt pointed out Krapao growing on a path. This was the moment where I first learned this Krapao, in hand in Thailand. She helped me harvest the 2 varieties, red and white. I am so lucky and happy to be tending to Krapao this season at Truelove."

Days to maturity: 60

Seeds per pack: 100

Germination rate: 72% on 03/24/2022

Planting / harvesting notes

Sow seeds on the surface of moist potting soil, do not cover. Keep it evenly moist and in the sunlight until germination. Start indoors, and later transplant in full sun 10-12" apart.

Seed keeping notes

Allow seedheads to dry and turn brown on the plant. Cut the stalks below the lowest seed clusters. If necessary, dry the seedheads further in the sun on a sheet or table away from moisture and precipitation. When fully dry, whack the seedheads in a bucket, allowing the ripest seed to fall. Sift through strainers to remove the largest chaff, and then winnow off the lighter chaff with your breath, a fan, or the wind.


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