If you want to give your food the best flavor possible, knowing how to harvest basil is a must. The pertinent points are as follows.
Step 1 on how to harvest basil: pick only the ones you need
If you want to grow basil well, you need to choose only select leaves. Most gardeners will get the leaves that are young, not just for the flavoring, but also by selecting these, you will still have plenty left as the plants continue to grow.
Step 2 on how to harvest basil: get entire branches if possible
If the basil has grown enough, it is a good idea to cut entire branches rather than just picking leaves one by one. This is of course, assuming you need that much for your cooking, or whatever it is you plan to use the herb. And it does have plenty of uses. Although known for garnishing, the herb can also be utilized for fighting acidity.
Step 3 on how to harvest basil: timing is essential
The best time to go out and pick basil leaves is the morning, right after the dew has gone completely dry, and (this is important), just before the sun gets up to its high level, because too much heat will dissipate the oil, which is where the basil gets its unique taste.
Step 4 on how to harvest basil: store properly
After you have harvested the basil, you may find that you are unable to use all of them, or perhaps you want to store some and utilize it later. The best way to go about this is to take the leaves you have not used and set aside in a container and place in a freezer. Before you do this, you might consider crushing the leaves and add some olive oil to help preserve the flavor.
If this is your first time to freeze basil, do not be surprised if you open the container and find that they have changed color to black. That is normal, and it will not have any effect whatsoever on their taste. You might prefer to just dry them up, but this will cause it to lose some flavor. If winter is approaching, pick the leaves before the sun goes down, because the temperature will drop quickly.
The above mentioned guidelines are all you really need to learn how to harvest basil successfully. Follow them every time and you will have no problems using these herbs.
Originally posted 2009-07-14 15:21:25.