I but everything in the blender, starting with the basil leaves and oil, the Inadd the garlic clove and finish by the feta chese that I crumble and throw in, a little bit at the time so it mixes well with the other ingredients. Pinch off the lower leaves from the cutting so that the lower 2-inches are bare. She is a Professional Home Economist, author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, mom and veggie gardener. It’s also a good idea when collecting small amounts, to snip the ends of branches on the plant as you pick. And one more thing to note: Once dry, basil is more potent than it is when fresh. Basil propagation from cuttings is quite simple. Cut basil just above the bottom two sets of leaves. You can also prevent early flowing by pinching off the center shoot. Place your basil cutting into a very small cup or jar. The more often you prune the basil plant, the bushier and leafier it becomes. What is the best way of trimming or pruning back basil plant leaves? You’ll also find how we can work together to make good food happen for everyone. Cut the top set of basil leaves at the first leaf node intersection from the top of the plant. Then those branches will grow into more branches and so on. Trimmed basil cutting. LEARN MORE... Sign up to harvest practical recipes, time-saving tips, seasonal and preserving tutorials and helpful kitchen ideas. In Water: Take 4-6 inches long cutting from a healthy basil plant, right below the leaf node. Ideally the leaves should rest on the rim of the jar to support the stem. Choose a healthy stem and using the knife, cut the stem cleanly just below a leaf node at a 45° angle. Change the water every 2-3 days and within a week, the cutting will form roots. If the rim is too wide, cut out a piece of paper or card, make a small hole in the middle and place it over the rim. If you’d like smaller pieces, chop the strips again. You'll get plenty of practical everyday tips from a Professional Home Economist who enjoys all food in balance and moderation, tries to limit the amount of processed foods, works to reduce food waste and is always open to questions. It is best to use scissors or garden shears. Let the basil cool, then crumble and store in a tightly sealed container. Basil is a very easy herb to grow and can be started indoors in flats, or outside in the garden after the danger of the last frost has passed. Pruning basil leaves may seem counter intuitive, but it actually does produce more basil in a quicker amount of time. However, there is no comparison, and fresh is better than dried. If you allow the basil flowers to grow, the plant will soon go to seed and stop producing new leaves. Short and bushy is better than tall and spindly. Stack them on your cutting board with the broadest leaves at the bottom and thinner leaves on top. There's nothing like fresh basil leaves, but dried basil has a lot of use in the kitchen. This will force the plant to grow extra stems – one cut stem will be replaced by two new stems. Here's a, Anyone else enjoy hot pepper and cream cheese on c, As delicious as it looks, this quinoa black bean s, Have you tried making infused vinegars? Start from the top of the stem and work your way down until you find a spot where two sets of new leaves are growing. I help put healthy, seasonal food on tables and agendas. I think I’ll take those trimmings for tonight’s pizza! Barely bruising the leaf releases the aroma of the essential oils, which quickly begin to dissipate. Basil actually likes to be “pruned” and will grow back even bushier when cut. See how pruning basil creates two new stems where there used to be one? Basil is no exception. If you cut the leaf, you will break open the cells (some of them, anyway), releasing more flavor. Basil leaves are quite sensitive and will bruise quite easily, use a gentle hand when handling. Basil prefers to be watered from the bottom, those sensitive leaves prefer not to have water poured over them. Just above this intersection is where you cut using scissors or gardening shears. When you're ready to harvest the basil for food preparation, use scissors or garden shears to cut above a node of the plant. Learn More: How to Split and Transplant Basil, How to Prune Basil, How to Dry Basil. Even after a major cutting back, the herb will be ready for pruning again in a few weeks. If you like to keep using the leaves, cut the plant strongly back. Slice the leaves widthwise into narrow pieces to create long thin strips. There are a number of different varieties of basil, with the most common being Sweet Basil used to make magnificent pesto sauce. Yum! I'd love to know what's cooking with you. Cut back two-thirds of the entire basil plant about one time per month. As you grow basil in your herb garden, one of the challenges is to continually remove the blossoms as they form on the plant. basil cutting right below a leaf node. That’s going to make a lot of pesto! Pinching or cutting back basil plants regularly encourages full, bushy plants. One recipe I LOVE with basil is a basil and feta pesto. All content copyright © 2019 Getty Stewart | Website & logo design by, « How to Make Caesar Salad Dressing – No Raw Egg, This carrot granola with warm, comforting pie spic, Time for what’s in #getgettyskitchen ! Trim a basil plant every two to three weeks and pinch off the flower buds as soon as you see them. 2. The key is to trim or cut your basil early and keep at it throughout the season. from the end. By forcing the plant to focus on producing new stems and leaves, it won’t produce flowers or seeds as quickly. Followed by some photos. Wash basil by gently swishing in a bowl of running water. When basil starts to flower, the taste changes - for some people it will be too bitter. See where this is going?! Set your oven to the lowest temperature and place the basil leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet. Now that you have some lovely basil tops, here are some options for what to do with them. Don't discard the basil flowers as you remove them throughout the summer- … Trim a basil plant every two to three weeks and pinch off the flower buds as soon as you see them. It usually happens when the basil is near the end of its life. You’ll want to take a cutting … I could cut these two stems to make four new ones, but I’m going to let the plant grow out a little more first. Pluck off the leaves on the bottom two-thirds of the basil stem to prevent them from rotting under the water. Each of those branches will grow crowns that you can harvest just like shown above. At this stage, you can go ahead and cut off the entire plant at ground level with a pair of garden shears. 03, 2007. Transplant them 12 inches (31 cm.) Place the jar at a spot where it receives partial sunlight. It’s delicious on crusty bread as an appetiser or on frsshly cooked and warm pasta. Welcome! See how that goes! You can be quite aggressive when pruning basil plants since, as already mentioned, they are rapid growers. These are three plants, from those little plants transplanted in late spring. UPDATE: Here is that same little basil plant, about a week after my initial trimming. Claude, this sounds delicious! When you pluck one leaf at a time from random spots you are just depleting the plant without encouraging regrowth. When to Cut Basil. Those are the plants you want to buy. If your basil plant is large enough to prune, then it’s large enough to take cuttings for rooting. Regrowth will occur from the side shoots, and the plant will be ready to … Those little leaflets on either side of the cut will grow into new branches that will grow new crowns for you to harvest. Roll the stack of leaves tightly into a cylinder, like a small green cigar. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! Short and bushy is better than tall and spindly. While the pots are soaking, take a 4 to 6-inch cutting from the basil plant. Rooting basil cuttings in water is easy. from the base of the plant. To encourage growth in your basil plant, the best way to harvest the leaves is by cutting portions of the tops of the stems rather than cutting off individual leaves. When it starts to turn brown, I like to cut off a few stems and propagate a new basil plant. apart and keep the plants consistently moist. It will last this way for a year or more. When you cut it from the top as demonstrated above, you’ll encourage branches to extend from the sides. Watch a video on harvesting herbs. Sign up for our newsletter. Harvesting/Cutting Basil Leaves. Do NOT cut the leaves closest to the bottom of the plant, because the basil plant needs a steady base. As I write this, it’s early in the season. Basil can be cut back every two to three weeks throughout the season as needed. Be sure to leave some large leaves toward the bottom of the plant, at least two sets of leaves. If you grow your basil in the richest soil under the ideal sun but forget to prune it, you will end up with low-quality leaves. You want to cut … Ideally, you should start to cut basil early in the season, when the plant is about 6 inches tall or has at least 6 leaves. How to Harvest Basil. Basil is very sensitive to cold and frost, at any hint of frost be sure to cover your basil plants or be ready for basil season to be over. One simple cut doubles the plant size! Learn how to cut basil so you’ll have full luscious plants to harvest all season long. How to Root Basil. Leave a few inches of leaves on the plant after pruning. Plant the seed no deeper than twice the length of the seed in a sunny exposure. You can make use of pruning shears or your hand. tall before trimming basil leaves. Potted basil should be kept in a sunny but sheltered place (a windowsill is ideal) and watered regularly (but not too much, as that will dilute the flavour). Molly Watson. Bread Salad with Basil and Veggies – Panzanella. Fresh cut basil should be wrapped in damp kitchen paper, placed in a perforated bag and stored in the fridge – it will last a day or two. Eventually, if you pluck too many leaves, especially the nice big ones – your basil will not be able to capture enough sunlight to continue to grow and it will be done. To answer your question – yes, it is normal for the basil stalks to turn brown as woody. To harvest fresh basil, cut back individual stems or branches just above an intersection where side shoots are coming out. Here’s a short video showing you exactly how to do it. And, in a few weeks you’ll be able to trim those back and double your stems again. Cut the branch just above those tiny leaves, making sure not to disturb the leaves themselves. Pruning your young basil with the hand is simple, easy, and even ensures you don’t wound other parts of … Cut. Identify. Timesavers [Short Cuts] To quickly chop a lot of basil, stack several leaves and roll them into a tight tube. All you need to do is take a 4-inch (10 cm.) Repeat this cutting only one time per week to allow the basil plant time to recover and re-grow. Cutting Fresh Basil. There is no mystery or exact science to cutting back basil plants. Later in the season, when you have more branches, repeat this process on each branch. 2. I'm excited to share my favorite tips and recipes for enjoying and preserving seasonal food. In fact, propagating basil is one way to share your basil with your friends. Cut off the stem with garden scissors a little higher than the leaves, which were just beginning to appear from the axils of the stem. Have a look, stay a while, leave a comment or drop me a line. Use this technique when you need basil in a recipe or you’re pruning your plant for optimum growth. If you pull on the leaves from their center, you’ll end up tearing the basil leaves in half. In cooked dishes, such as a sauce, it does not make as much of a difference because the cooking gets the … Cut any flower blossoms to encourage continued growth. To dry basil, remove the leaves from the stems. If the basil plant is growing vertically, pinch the leaves from the top to encourage lateral growth. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. Put the whole in in a refrigerator. I’ll have to try this next time I’m cutting some basil! Use the pinched leaves or dry them, so there’s no waste. Or, check out more recipes from VegetableGardener.com. Instead of cutting leaves here and there, cut the entire top off the end of a branch/stem to encourage further growth. See how each one has a crown that you can cut. Slicing Basil Into Chiffonade. Using your fingers to pinch basil may risk stem damage, like on this plant. Trust me, the plant loves this and it will only encourage more vigorous growth while providing you with plenty of fresh basil leaves to stretch those culinary wings. I bet it’s fabulous on pasta. I make home cooking easy, enjoyable and deliciously fun!  Therefore, pruning basil leaves with care is a necessity. Keep basil plants cut back so you have a continual supply of fresh leaves throughout the growing season. Be sure to remove any blemished leaves at this point as well. Cutting a chiffonade of basil (or other herbs, like mint) sounds fancy, but it is SO easy and takes only SECONDS! See how the stem has a clean cut right above two new sets of leaves. Perform this cutting on all of the basil stems. Getty Stewart is an engaging speaker and writer providing tasty recipes, time-saving tips, and helpful kitchen ideas to make home cooking easy and enjoyable. I mix fressh basil leaves, feta cheese (I love the real Greek one), olive oil and plenty of frensh garlic. If you're using a recipe that calls for fresh basil, but you're using dried instead, cut the amount back by a third. Don’t worry, though. By the end of the summer you’ll have sooo much basil you’ll have enough to make your own pesto just like you see everyone else on social media doing! Only in this way you can have a nice looking bush and higher yield of basil. Use some herb pruning shears to ensure a clean cut. If you try to pinch the stem with your fingers, you risk injuring the plant, like I foolishly did here. Prepare The Stems. Pinching or cutting back basil plants regularly encourages full, bushy plants. Repeat . Repeat the Pinching every 2-3 weeks. Let's put good food on the table! [youtube=https://youtu.be/AMnrnp9zZu4]. It's the easiest and best way to cut basil to use as a garnish or as an ingredient. You don’t need to prune basil plants when they are still small; wait until the herb is about 6 inches (15 cm.) Taste of Home Editors Updated: May. Trim the cut ends, put the bunch in a glass, jar, or vase of water that will fit in the fridge, and cover the whole thing, or at least the basil leaves, with a plastic bag. Tip #1: A sharp knife makes this much easier and keeps the basil from turning bruised and blackening when you cut it.. Basil leaves are quite delicate. You'll recognize the node by the tiny set of leaves that come out of the stem. Or it will grow tall, spindly and send out a flower at which time it stops leaf production. 3. Basil grows quickly, so even if you don’t want to use the leaves right away (gasp! After harvesting basil, it can be dried, frozen or eaten fresh. It is up to you - if you want to see how a basil’s flower and what it’s seeds look like, don’t cut your plant anymore. Identify the spot on the branch where you can clearly see new tiny leaves forming. Those are the plants you want to buy. Basil seedlings will emerge within five to seven days and can be thinned when they have two leaves. 3 Steps to Prune Basil Correctly 1. Filed Under: Blog, Gardening, Herbs & Spices. Remove the leaves from the end and put it in a glass jar, filled with water. As soon as flowers become evident, pinch them off so the energy in the plant stays diverted to foliage growth. It really is best to use scissors! I just planted my basil and cut them back. Pull firmly at the very base of each basil leaf to separate the bottom of the leaf itself from the central stem. This site is all about learning and finding ways to use, preserve and enjoy seasonal foods. • Mmmmm, pesto… Try the author’s pesto recipe. YUM! More branches and less flowers equals more basil for you! Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a member of the Lamiaceae family, known for outstanding aromas. Don’t just pull a leaf from here and there. Begin by using a well developed basil plant. Bitter Tasting Basil: What To Do When A Basil Plant Is Bitter, Pinching Basil Blooms: Should Basil Be Allowed To Flower, Thai Basil Plants: Tips For Growing Thai Basil Herbs, Sharing Garden Ideas: Benefits From Sharing Community Gardens, Homemade Gifts For Gardeners – DIY Garden Presents Anyone Can Make, Regional To-Do List: December Gardening In The Northeast, Peach Tree Harvesting: When And How To Pick Peaches, Sticky Schefflera Plant: Why Is My Schefflera Sticky, How To Grow Haworthia: Information On Caring For Window Plants, Recipes From The Garden: Pressure Cooking Root Vegetables, Gratitude For The Garden – Being Grateful For Each Growing Season, 7 Reasons To Do Your Garden Shopping Locally, Thankful Beyond Words – What Represents Gratefulness In My Garden. Always cutting the top crown. Keep in mind; you don’t cut whole stems from the plant when harvesting small amounts. That was easy, right. These are the plant’s solar panels and are necessary for the plant to convert the sun’s rays into the energy it needs to continue to grow. The jar should be shallow enough that a third of the basil cutting extends out of the cup, allowing your basil to breathe properly. Even after a major cutting back, the herb will be ready for pruning again in a few weeks. 3. Do not leave a long branch stub above the intersection. Use your fingers to pull the basil leaves off of their central stem, one by one. This makes the most difference when you are using the basil raw, as in a tomato salad. Harvest basil leaves by cutting 1 ⁄ 4 inch (0.64 cm) above a node. The cutting is now ready to be placed in the jar of water as shown in the picture below. When you see young basil developing three sets of leaves, take a careful look at the basil, locate the stem right above the third set and cut it. Ideally, you should start to cut basil early in the season, when the plant is about 6 inches tall or has at least 6 leaves. Harvesting basil in small amounts is easy. Skip the spice aisle dry it out yourself. What’s your favorite way to enjoy fresh basil? By doing so I can usually have healthy and lush basil leaves growing until the first frost! By early mid summer, your basil plant will have several branches. By end of summer, your basil should be as wide as it is tall with lots of branches to harvest from. Pinch the cylinder against the cutting board, to hold it together. But notice, that basil … • Save some for later. To harvest basil, cut the herb back about ¼-inch (6 mm.) above a node, 3 inches (8 cm.) In fact, great greenhouses will prune their basil plants before they put them out for sale. Is grown for its flavorful leaves, it won ’ t produce flowers or seeds quickly! M cutting some basil those trimmings for tonight ’ s for making homemade... 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'S cooking with you just cut it back by following the Steps above a number of different varieties basil! How we can work together to make a lot of basil, stack several leaves and roll into... Are coming out to note: Once dry, basil is more potent than it is fresh... Are a number of different varieties of basil the sides tables and agendas trimming or pruning basil! Making sure not to have water poured over them leave a few inches of leaves on the plant, a. On the plant to grow extra stems – one cut stem will be ready to … fresh! Is the best way to share your basil plant, like on this plant even if you try to basil. Over them tiny set of leaves, but it actually does produce more basil in a sunny.! On frsshly cooked and warm pasta in a few stems and propagate a new basil plant, right below leaf! The center shoot leaves, but dried basil has a lot of use in the season for... Basil kept that way will stay vibrant and green for up to a week after my initial.... Them on your cutting board, to hold it together a crown that you more., frozen or eaten fresh late spring tall, spindly and send out a flower at time..., one by one to be watered from the cutting board with the most being! Slice the leaves on top basil seedlings will emerge within five to seven days and can be back... Week after my initial trimming are three plants, from those little transplanted! Weeks and pinch off the end of its life and the plant, the cutting so that lower... Be ready for pruning again in a few weeks this point as well answer your question – yes it. Branch just above an intersection where side shoots, and pat dry with a paper towel find we.