Basil is one of the herbs that can be easily grown from your own garden. Many recipes call for fresh basil, and it does not get any fresher than when you pick the basil leaves yourself.
Here are some tips to remember on how to harvest basil.
- Wait until the basil plant is about 10 inches high before beginning to harvest.
- The best time to harvest basil is when the plant has plenty of leaves but very few flowers.
- Harvest only 1/3 of the leaves in one go and allow some time for the other leaves to grow again before re-harvesting.
- Harvest the basil leaves after the morning dew has evaporated but well before noon so that the leaves will have fuller flavour.
- Use a container that has good airflow such as woven basket or paper bag for the harvested basil leaves. Plastic bags cause the leaves to wilt faster.
- Gently rinse the leaves after harvesting and pat them dry.
- Keep the harvested basil leaves away from direct sunlight until they will be used for cooking.
- The best way to store fresh basil is to freeze the leaves. This can be done by placing the leaves on a freezer bag or making ice cubes out of fresh cut basil slurry.