How To Harvest Basil - Backyard Boss
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How To Harvest Basil

Basil is a member of the mint family and a popular herb we use in many dishes. It is native to India and other parts of Asia and has a sweet, aromatic flavor that goes well with tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. 

Basil is also relatively easy to grow, making it a perfect herb for beginners. You can grow it in a garden or in pots. It prefers warm weather and lots of sunlight.

In this article, we will show you how to harvest basil so that you can enjoy its flavor in your cooking!

Everything You Need to Know About Basil

Basil Plant
Image credits: monicore from Pixabay via Canva

Do you love the aromatic taste of basil in your cooking? If so, you’re in luck because it is very easy to grow at home. In fact, with a little effort, you can even harvest it year-round. But before you get started, there are a few things you need to know about this delicious herb.

1. Basil is A Tender Annual

The first thing to know is that traditional basil is a tender annual, which means it will only last for one growing season. You’ll need to replant your basil every year if you want a continuous supply.

2. Harvest Basil Often

When harvesting basil, the key is to do it often. It will encourage the plant to produce more leaves and make it last longer. You can start harvesting basil when the plants are about six inches tall.

3. Harvest Basil in the Morning

The best time to harvest basil is in the morning. It is when the flavor of the herb is at its peak. If you do it too early, the plant won’t have had a chance to develop its full flavor potential.

When to Harvest Basil

The best time to harvest basil is after it reaches 6 to 8 inches tall. Prune periodically to promote new leaves but don’t wait too long because if you let it go to flower, its flavor can be bitter. If your plant does flower, you can simply cut it off. 

Materials Needed to Harvest Basil

Scissor cutting fresh culinary herbs.
Image credits: PaniYani via Shutterstock

Harvesting basil is a simple process, but there are a few things you will need:

  • A sharp knife or pruning shears
  • A clean container for storing the basil
  • Rubber bands or ties (optional if you are bunching the basil)

How to Harvest Basil

Step one: Wait Until the Plant is Big Enough

basil leaves big enough
Image Credit: Suzy Hazelwood via pexels

Basil plants should be at least six inches tall before harvesting them. You will want your basil plant to have two sets of six leaves in order to start encouraging growth through pruning. 

Step Two: Cut the Stem Just Above A Leaf Node

cut basil leaf node
Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska via pexels

A leaf node is a point on the stem where leaves grow. When you cut the stem, make sure to leave at least two leaves on the plant. It will help the plant continue to grow. Use sharp shears or a knife to not damage the plant.

Step Three: Rinse the Leaves and Dry Them

wash, rinse, and dry basil
Image Credit: Damir Mijailovic via pexels

Rinse the leaves in cool water to remove any dirt or debris. Then, dry them with a paper towel or let them air dry. It will help to preserve the flavor of the herb.

Step Four: Store the Basil

storing basil in a container
Image Credit: elle_kh via pixabay

You can store the basil in a glass jar or container with a lid. Make sure to keep it out of direct sunlight. You can also bunch the basil together and store it in a vase with some water. Just change the water every few days.

Another option is to put the stems in a glass of water and place it in the fridge. It will keep your basil fresh for up to two weeks.

If you want to store your basil for even longer, you can freeze it. Simply chop the leaves and store them in an airtight container. Frozen basil will last for up to six months.

Wrap Up

Harvesting basil is simple and easy. All you need to do is wait until the plant is big enough, cut the stem, rinse the leaves, and then store it in a clean container. Now that you know how to harvest basil, you can enjoy its fresh flavor all season long.

Do you have experience harvesting and storing basil? Share your tips in the comments below. And don’t forget to share this article with your friends so they can learn how to harvest and store basil too!