Air drying herbs is the traditional method (plus it’s fun to see bundles of herbs hanging around), but there are ways to speed up the process. This keeps things like dust off your herbs and catches any leaves that fall off. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. The little leaves you leave behind on the plant will form new stalks for a nice, healthy basil bush and a bumper crop of basil. Just don’t forget about it forget to use it! Picking them before the heat of the day will give you the juiciest leaves, but you can still pick them any time of day if you can’t get out in the morning. Frozen basil actually tastes even better than dried basil. Discover which plants you can grow indoors and outside to help keep spiders away! If cutting back entire stems, cut When there are a few sets of leaves on your plants, take the top section of each plant off right above a node. You can harvest basil at any time throughout the season. The longer you keep your basil from sending out blooms, the longer you can keep getting good-tasting leaves. For more protection, cut ventilation slits in paper bags and put one around each bunch. Harvesting a leaf here and a leaf there won’t prompt the same level for growth. Drawing on the knowledge of the founders, Artemisia Nursery also offers consultations, designs, and installations. If you’ve got it growing in your garden or pots this year, here’s how to harvest basil to get the best crop possible out of your plants. This helps your plants recover in between prunings. This article was co-authored by Artemisia Nursery. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. basil, be sure to pinch least six sets of leaves. It does take a little more work, though, and is best suited to soups, stews, and sauces (not things like homemade salad dressing or as a pizza topping). It's best to harvest leaves from the top of the plant, which will lead to bushier, fuller growth. When you water your basil plant, measure it with a tape measure or ruler to see how much it has grown. However you choose to use and store it, knowing how to harvest basil the “right” way will ensure you get the best yield. Harvest in the early morning, when leaves are at their juiciest. Just follow the stem back to where there are two leaves emerging from a node and cut just above that. Cut back whole stem for use in larger harvests. stems will result in a bushier plant that produces more leaves too. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! There are several ways to preserve basil. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. 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In addition to California native plants, Artemisia Nursery offers a selection of succulents, heirloom veggie and herb starts, house plants, pottery, and gardening tools and supplies. Basil cubes will keep in the freezer for approximately three to four months. To harvest a small amount of basil, just remove a few leaves for use. When you cut just above the node, the plant will divide in two, so it will continue growing in a bushier, fuller form. To remove stems easily, use small scissors. Separate the leaves from the stems. Blanching slows, or stops, enzyme action that degrades the herb/vegetable. This article has been viewed 113,033 times. Then, pinch off any number of leaves with your fingers to use as a garnish or in a recipe. She was a member of the Association for Living History Farms and Agricultural Museums for many years and is currently enrolled in the Oregon State University Master Gardner Short Course program so she can better assist you with your gardening questions.She holds a certificate in natural skincare from the School of Natural Skincare. A gallon size ziplock bag works well. Last Updated: November 5, 2020 back any blooms to facilitate foliage growth. Artemisia Nursery is a retail plant nursery in Northeast Los Angeles specializing in California native plants. Basil flowers are edible but their flavor is stronger than basil leaves and their seed pods are coarse and gritty. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Approved. Please see our full Disclaimer & Disclosure page for more information. Blanching is necessary for virtually every frozen fruit, vegetable, and herb. Be very careful not to cut the stem while doing so. Discover more about us. These frozen basil cubes are perfect for making pesto or adding to pasta sauces. These are the leaves that will start growing once you do your pruning. If you want to support your local pollinators, let a few plants flower and keep the rest as your harvesting plants. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. For more advice from our Horticulturist reviewer, including how to remove full stems of basil for larger-scale harvesting, keep reading. I personally store most of my basil in a mason jar that I seal with my Foodsaver. Zones: 2-11 (as an annual, zones 10-11 as a perennial), Needs: Moist, well-drained soil and full to partial sun. If you harvest the bottom leaves, the plant will grow lanky and thin, and it might not be as healthy or productive. Join us for family-friendly gardening tips so you can garden with your kids. If you have harvested enough basil leaves and are ready to see your plant go, allow it to flower and enjoy the beauty. This is different from many herbs that you harvest from the bottom up. Once you learn how easy it is to pick and dry thyme, you'll never buy it from the grocery store again! Harvest the basil when the plant starts to flower, which will encourage new growth. % of people told us that this article helped them. The Foodsaver jar sealer attachment is seriously awesome. If for some reason you have not been regularly picking your Keep in mind; you don’t cut whole stems from the plant when harvesting small amounts. If you look really closely, you’ll see very tiny leaves sticking out from each side of each node. Use your food processor or blender to puree your basil leaves with olive oil.,,,,,, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Your basil will retain its flavor for much longer if you keep leaves whole and only crumble them when you add them to a recipe. Plant Nursery & Garden Shop. Be sure to cut or pinch right above a leaf pair rather than leaving a stub. Lots of people don’t realize this important basil storage tip so make sure to share it with your friends! You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Keep in mind that it is better to harvest early in the morning.