Harvesting Basil

Here you will find proven methods for harvesting basil, including ideas for storing basil to keep it fresher longer.

harvesting basil Basil harvesting is important for two reasons.

First, knowing when to harvest ensures that you pick your leaves at their peak of flavor.

Second, harvesting is vital to the health and longevity of your plant.

Whether you are growing your basil indoors or outdoors, do not begin harvesting until the plant is well-established. A good rule of thumb is to wait two weeks after planting and then prune back to just above the bottom three sets of leaves. This will stimulate growth.

After the first time, prune every two to three weeks, depending on how quickly your plants are growing. When you prune it is best to use gardening sheers to avoid damaging the stems. Cut each stem just above the bottom three sets of leaves.

Watch your plants carefully and be sure that you do not any flowers to form, unless of course your basil is purely decorative. When flowers form, the leaves turn bitter so this is not a good idea if you will be using your basil in the kitchen.

Basil loves to be used. The more you prune it back, the more it will grow so harvesting basil is good for the life of your plant, and good for you since you get to enjoy the harvest.

Storing Basil

Now let's talk about storing your basil harvest. YOu have a few options and the best one for you depends upon when and how you wand to use your basil.

If you want to use the fresh basil leaves in their all of their natural glory, the best way to store them is to keep the leaves on the stems, place the stems into a vase of water (just like a bouquet of flowers) and keep the vase at room temperature, not in the refrigerator. Depending on the climate in your area you may also want to place a plastic baggie over the leaves after you have placed the stems in water. In very dry climates, this tends to help with water retention and slows the process of the leaves wilting.

If you have no immediate use for your basil, but you want to preserve that fresh flavor for later, there are a number of fantastic options, including....

There is always a way to put your basil harvest to good use!

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