Harvesting basil properly - instructions for bed and pot

Harvesting basil properly - instructions for bed and pot

That is why picking them occasionally harms the royal herb

Due to its intense aroma, the family kitchen usually only needs a small amount of basil. As a result, there is a great temptation to only pluck individual leaflets. Those who do not know what they are doing are acting out of a misunderstood thrift. If a branch is robbed of its leaves by gradually picking it, this heralds its immediate death.

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In addition, timid plucking of the foliage does not prevent flowering. When basil blooms, the wonderful aroma is gone within a short time and turns into a bitter taste. At the same time, the royal herb invests all its strength in the growth of flowers and seeds, so that the herbal plant is doomed to die.

If you want to harvest basil properly, you also do substantial care work for a long service life. Since the plant is already aiming for its first flowering 8 weeks after sowing, an alternative harvesting technique to individual picking is required.

The right way to harvest basil - puff instead of spill

Sporadic leaf plucking should be the exception. A more courageous approach is much better conducive to the wonderful herbal plant. How to do it right:

  • Always cut off whole shoot tips over a length of 5-7 centimeters
  • do not pick, but cut with a sharp knife
  • start the cut just above a pair of leaves so that further branches sprout here
  • leave at least one pair of eyes on the plant from complete branches

As long as a minimal amount of one or two leaf nodes remains from a shoot, basil will diligently sprout from it again. Cutting off the tips of the shoots also promotes compact, bushy growth and prevents flowering. Of course, it is no drama if you pick a single leaf as a small herbal snack as you pass by. In this case, preferably choose an older, dark green leaf with the highest aroma content.

Choosing the perfect time

Hobby gardeners know the importance of the best time of day if they want to harvest basil properly. During the early hours of the morning the herbal aroma is at its highest level. This is especially true if the royal herb has just been poured.

Harvest the flowers properly as a feast for the eyes and a feast for the palate

The basil blossom knows how to present itself so decoratively that it is definitely welcome in the bed and on the balcony. Depending on the variety, a bright white, pale pink or purple flower pile develops. If you pick the flower stalks, they are ideal for the vase or as a natural bouquet.

As if that weren't enough, the flowers are edible. The chef de cuisine is inspired by the enchanting lip flowers for seductive decorations on salads, soups and other dishes. Due to the slightly bitter taste, they are used in culinary terms in the form of basil blossom vinegar.

Store the harvest surplus wisely - this is how it works

Those who follow the recommendation to regularly harvest basil will benefit from the long shelf life of this popular herb plant throughout the summer. This goes hand in hand with the question of how the excess harvest can be used. Rich royal herb is far too valuable to be disposed of in the compost. These options for storage are available:

  • air dry, oven or dehydrator
  • Freeze fresh basil as whole leaves or finely pureed with olive oil
  • Harvest whole shoots, pluck the leaves and soak in salt, vinegar or olive oil

It is important to note that the leaves are thoroughly cleaned under running water after picking. Then pat dry with a kitchen towel before starting the next steps. If you freeze or soak the royal herb, cut off the leaf stalks beforehand.

Harvest basil seeds properly

Forward-looking hobby gardeners will sooner or later allow their royal herb to flower. If the flowering herb plant adorned the bed, the balcony or the window sill, it is still a long way from using its botanical powder. Lush seed pods develop under the wilting flowers. These provide ample material for propagation by sowing. How to get the seeds:

  • pluck the withered flower stalks and pluck withered leaves
  • Remove the dry flowers from the stems over a plate
  • Sieve the mixture of seeds and remains of flowers several times

The small black seeds remain. Stored in a cool place in a sealable container, they will be sown next spring.

Tips & Tricks

Does your mood lift when you smell the smell of fresh basil? Then you benefit from the high content of linalool, the good mood substance from nature. The colorless substance is contained in many essential oils and is now also used by the cosmetics industry to create mood-enhancing fragrances.