Carefully cut basil leaves from the plant for immediate use, or dry and store them for later. Timing and cutting technique will encourage foliage growth and deter blossoming to give you more usable basil from the same plant. Add the power of fresh or dried basil to your cooking without harming your beautiful basil plant. Basil is a delicious gourmet touch you can be proud of, especially if you've grown it yourself.
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Things you need
- Sharp knife
- Basil plant
Cut basil leaves from a plant for fresh use before the flower buds have begun to form. The best time of day to harvest is in the morning just after the dew has dried.
Select a healthy basil leaf from the top 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) of the plant and hold it gently by the stem.
Place your basket in position under the basil leaf to catch it when you cut it from the plant.
Make a clean cut with a sharp knife halfway down the base of the leaf's stem and allow it to fall into the basket below.
Continue collecting leaves in this manner until you have all that you need for a single recipe. The leaves will be ready for immediate use without washing unless they were grown using pesticides or toxins.
After flower stalks have appeared on the basil plant and before they have blossomed is the time to harvest for dry preservation. At this stage more of the pungent essential oils have developed in the plant.
Gently hold a selected basil leaf chosen from above the bottom four sets of leaves and examine it for any defects or damage.
Hold the basket in place below the leaf and use a sharp knife to make a clean cut, severing the stem at its base to keep it attached to the leaf.
Harvest more basil leaves in this manner until you have filled your basket or have harvested all the healthy eligible leaves.
Leaves should be left to dry unstacked in a well-ventilated area then stored in sealed glass jars until use.
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