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Besobela (Ethiopian Basil)

Ocimum spp.

Grown by: Truelove Seeds at Mill Hollow Farm in Newtown Square, PA

  • $4.00


Besobela is an Ethiopian holy basil with a delicate and distinct flavor that is used as in Kibe (spiced butter), Berbere (spice mixture), Shiro (stew) and many other essential dishes as a rub or marinade. This fragrant, purple-flowered basil grows wild and cultivated in Ethiopia where it is harvested by hand, sun-dried, and pulverized for cooking. 

Our seed came from seed keeper Blair Williams who was given the seed by an Ethiopian woman who visited his garden when he lived in Los Angeles.  In these photos you can see Besobela arranged on a taro leaf, as well as our dear friend Bilen Berhanu holding a bouquet of Besobela (purple flower) and Vana Tulsi (light green flower), which she took home to her mother to grind in to her spice mixes. Also known as: Besobela, Bassobela, Ethiopian Basil, Ethiopian Sacred Basil

Days to maturity: 60-70

Seeds per pack: 100-120

Planting / harvesting notes

Sow seeds on the surface of moist potting soil and keep it evenly moist and in the sunlight until germination. Start indoors, and later transplant in full sun 10-12" apart. Continually harvest - this plant is a vigorous grower in warmer months.

Seed keeping notes

Allow seedheads to dry 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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