Also, make sure to remove the branch tips. Harvest the basil leaves you want to use in recipes as you need them. The leaves that you should remove are those growing on the top of the plant. The easiest way is in the oven: Remove basil leaves from the stem, wash, and pat dry with a paper towel. Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water. This will help the plant to fill out. If there is a need to pick a few leaves, it is better to choose more mature lateral leaves and those that are closely adjacent to the main stem. If only a few leaves are required, remove the tops of plants to encourage bushy growth. Basil has soft, velvety leaves that are easily damaged during harvest. Unless you’re a chef or always in the kitchen cooking, you’ll likely end up with more fresh herbs than you know what to do with. Paul in San Diego. If you wait too long, the leaves will turn bitter. 10. Freezing actually improves the pesto. Harvesting basil needs careful handling. Gently wash basil leaves in cool water taking care not to damage the leaves. And when i pick the basil leaves, the stem will start to grow dark on the edge i picked it out from the next day. Remove leaves as required or harvest entire plants if lots of leaves are needed to make sauces. If the plant is allowed to flower, it will put energy into trying to regenerate itself by making seeds. The curled leaves don't seem to taste as good, either. Share on Facebook; Share on Twitter; Share on Pinterest; Share on Whatsapp; Share on Blogger; Email to a friend; Tags. There are two basic ways to harvest basil: If you just want a few leaves to use then it is fine to pinch what you need off from the top of the plant. This method keeps the leaves hydrated but not wet or damp. Hi, Harvesting basil, if done properly, can extend your herb life, produce a bushier (and way more leaves). In fact, the more you harvest from your plants, the more they’ll produce. The basil leaves don’t need to ripe so many find it difficult to understand when to harvest basil without causing damage to the plant. Thank You! Skip the spice aisle dry it out yourself. Lv 7. The proper time to harvest sweet basil leaves is in the morning—after the dew has evaporated and dried. Try adding to gin and tonic, vodka and soda, or even a mojito. Gary, I do have sweet basil but the big leaves don't taste as good to me. After that, let them go to seed. The flavor changes as the leaf ages. So harvesting is not only recommended but encouraged by gardeners. Younger leaves have a better flavor and are more tender. Simply put your dish cloth on a large cutting board or baking sheet for easy transport. If you are looking to harvest a small amount of basil, you can remove a few leaves for your cooking needs. The best time to pick basil is when the nights are warm and it is slightly dry out. Basil grows fast. Put fresh basil leaves into a colander that fits into the pot (it’s important to have the basil in something so you can quickly remove it all at once). 2. 4 Answers. Once temperatures hit 80°F (27°C), basil will really start leafing out. You should prune your basil plants regularly. 1. Harvest in small quantities: If you need basil leaves, pick the leaves from each stem, this is better than cutting the stems. The second best way to store basil is to store it like salad greens: pick the leaves off the stems and lay them in more or less a single layer on layers of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel, roll up the towel around the leaves, and put the roll in a plastic bag. This is one of the questions that tormented me when I first started to grow basil. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cocktails get zing from the addition of a few torn basil leaves. where should i cut off the basil when picking leaves? When you pluck one leaf at a time from random spots you are just depleting the plant without encouraging regrowth. Pick the leaves and tops of basil regularly throughout the summer to use fresh. Basil is a delicious and healthy herb that can upgrade any dish amazing one and some people even see therapeutic benefits in it. It may not have as much to do with size as it does age. Storing basil in the refrigerator can cause the leaves to turn an unappetizing black color. Genovese: Large, bright green sweet leaves that are brilliant with mozzarella and tomatoes. This is my first time growing basil. In the second method, you begin by stuffing your basil into a food processor and adding olive oil to cover it. What Not To Do. Here are some simple tips for harvesting basil! Flowers and buds will keep the basil plant from producing new leaves. They’ll keep for up to a year like this. Do not cut off a whole stem, unless your stem is big enough for cutting. This may be in late July or early August. How to pick herbs – picking basil. How to harvest it? I don't know and I just don't eat the big leaves. BasilGuide.com has good advice [1]: > One of the most important roles in growing a superb batch of basil is the harvesting of the basil plants. Drinks. Basil i do no longer decide for any leaf larger than a teaspoon. To harvest basil, use sharp scissors and snip the stems above the second last set of leaves from the bottom of the plant. Unlike other herbs and plants, basil can actually be harvested anytime you would like and need since harvesting regularly prevents flower production and consequently generates an abundant growth of basil leaves. Don’t just pull a leaf from here and there. Therefore, it’ll stop trying to produce seed and produce more basil leaves. Is that suppose to happen? You may opt to harvest basil anytime of the day as you need it, however It is highly recommended to do it early in the morning when its leaves are juicer and fresher. And they are too "chewy." How to Harvest Basil. Pruning basil prevents that, so you’ll have a basil harvest all summer long. How to Harvest Basil. This is the perfect method for keeping basil leaves for use as an ingredient. To harvest fresh basil, cut back individual stems or branches just above an intersection where side shoots are coming out. Grow herbs in a sunny spot in the garden to get the best flavour from their leaves, but ensure the ground is rich and moist. If you plan on harvesting a larger amount, you will need to take a few additional steps to ensure that your basil plant continues to produce leaves. Harvest in the early morning, when leaves are at their juiciest. If you need a lot of leaves at once, you can pinch the plants back by half as long as you fertilize them immediately afterwards. 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