You can harvest basil as often as you need it; it will keep growing. You don’t need to wash basil leaves before you freeze them, but when they thaw they’ll be mushy, so it won’t be possible to wash them then. Separate the basil leaves from the stem and wash them thoroughly. For young plants, just pick a few leaves. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Harvest basil from the top down, using a pair of clean scissors or shears to remove up to one-third of the plant's height. I’m afraid that your basil leaves probably won’t last that long without refrigeration after harvesting them. Basil does not store very well for the short term. Mmm, basil. Cutting back entire stems will result in a bushier plant that produces more leaves too. Wet leaves will turn brown very quickly. So, no matter which method you use to store it for the long term, it’s best to use it up within one year. Last night, I pulled out the biggest atomic purple carrot I’ve ever seen. The pair of small leaves … My brand new book Vertical Vegetables is now available for purchase!! Disclosure. Harvesting Larger Amounts: Harvest the leaves from the top down, cutting back up to a third of the total plant height. Here’s what you’ll find in this detailed guide for preserving and storing basil…. Stay tuned for the first newsletter in the morning, straight to your inbox. An herb keeper also works very well. Cold temperatures (even refrigerators) often spell basil doom. Have tons of leaves, afraid they might not dry totally maybe get mold. Tell us your favorite way to store basil for long term use in the comments below. Store basil in an airtight container away from light. Even though well preserved basil doesn’t really go bad, it will start to lose its flavor over time. But whatever you do, do NOT wash it before storing fresh. Use a fine colander for basil seed collecting, as the black seeds are very tiny. You could also flash freeze individual leaves on a cookie sheet for 10-20 minutes before putting them into the baggie. Just be sure to keep them out of the heat or sun while transporting them. Add one tablespoon of olive oil for every one cup of basil. Put the basil in the jar and store it at around 65 °F (18 °C). However, it takes up precious freezer space. Layer the stems and damp paper towels in a sealable container. Then crush or grind them, and fill a spice jar for your pantry. It works great, and they will stay fresh for a few days. Change the water periodically, like you … Saving Basil Seeds. Be sure to cut or pinch right above a leaf pair rather than leaving a stub. They will wilt and likely turn brown before you get to your destination. I have a basil in a planter that I purchased at one of our Farmer’s Markets. If any of the leaves are touching the water, they will quickly turn black. Preserving basil in oil is also a great way to store it for later. Simply chop up the leaves, and fill your trays. Plus, it keeps my spice rack full! Kinda silly question, just harvested my basil leaves, is it necessary I wash them before I freeze them in plastic ziplock bags. July 26, 2010. Don’t forget to store your dried herbs properly. Harvest basil when the leaves are at their peak, before a lot of flowers form. To harvest basil, start at the top of the plant and follow the stem down to where it branches off. Once frozen, they become very brittle, and you can crush them up really easily right in the baggie if you want. For now, feel free to continue reading. Thank you Amy for explaining the ins and outs of doing this harvest! To harvest a small amount of basil, just remove a few leaves for use. Just remember that anything in ice water needs to be well sealed to prevent freezer burn. I was going to break some off when frozen and then wash before I use it. Small harvests won’t produce quite as many leaves in the long run, but you will be able to harvest anytime you want. But it still adds a nice flavor and aroma to your favorite dishes. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately transfer the leaves to a bowl of ice cold water. Yes, you can harvest the tops of your basil plants to keep them growing more compact, rather than getting taller. You can start picking basil leaves when the plant is about six to eight inches tall. My green thumb comes from my parents, and I've been gardening most of my life. Also, do not wrap them in plastic, because the condensation will cause them to turn brown, black, or get spots on them. Pureeing and freezing. Here’s a post about how to grow basil for more details. Rather than plucking just the leaves, you want to clip the stems back to encourage branching and more leaf growth. This way, your basil will grow lush and full. Crush the heads over the colander and pick out the old petals and any chaff. Improper storage can strip your dried flakes of flavor. I have tranported them 9 hours. You should see a pair of small leaves on both sides of the branching point. Do you know if this will work? There are a couple of methods you can use to keep it fresh as long as possible. If well preserved, it will last for a long time. This should be done right before the day heats up, but after the dew dries off the plant. Here are a few common ones about storing basil. More Tips for a Better Basil Harvest Hydrate leaves in a bowl of water before use, just like lettuce. Keep the harvested branches intact and plunk them in a jar of water. How to Harvest and Store Basil. Required fields are marked *. Basil freezes very well, and it doesn’t take much prep time either. When you bring basil branches inside, store the fresh basil properly to extend its life: see How to Store Fresh Basil. Here’s a post that may help… How To Freeze Herbs From The Garden. Later, simply clip the stems at the first or second branch intersection below … To keep them from sticking together in one big block, you can flash freeze them before putting them into the baggies. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. if I take leaves off do I take the leaves from the top how do I stop it from growing up out of control. Fresh basil doesn’t expire per-say, but it will start to rot or mold if you don’t preserve it. But if you do want popsicles, you can use an herb freezer tray or mini ice cube trays to preserve them. Your email address will not be published. Freeze small portions of fresh basil or basil pesto in ice cubes. If you aren’t going to eat up your basil within a couple of days, then you need to use one of the methods below for storing it long term. With so many options, storing basil for winter use is well worth the effort. Cut your holy basil with a sharp knife just above the bottom two or three sets of true leaves. However, when you preserve it, you can keep it for much longer. The summer crops are starting to roll in. Leave the jar on the counter – the fridge will turn your basil leaves black. It’s the easiest thing to grow and you will have endless basil as well as seeds when it begins to grow it’s seed pods. Once there are six to eight leaves on a plant, clip back the stems to the second set of leaves (leaving four leaves on the plant). 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. I LOVE CAPRIESE.! Finally, place the basil in a freezer bag or container layered with parchment paper. You could also make a batch of homemade basil pesto, and freeze that for later use in your recipes. I picked our first cucumber right off the vine and sliced it onto our plates last night. Glass containers that can be sealed airtight are ideal. You can also freeze basil and water in ice cubes for dropping into soups. There's no better way to add flavor to summer dishes than with a bit of this fresh herb. You can keep fresh basil for a few days in a glass of water or sealed container in the fridge. Like I said earlier, the dried leaves don’t retain their flavor as well as they do when you freeze them. Avoid metal or plastic. When properly stored, fresh basil can last up to 10 days. If you’re wanting to harvest basil leaves, this isn’t a good sign. Part of how to harvest sweet basil correctly is storing. Basil will grow in a planter or in your yard. Dried Basil: Fresh and dried basil in glass jar. The best way to store basil for the short term is to put the stems into a vase of water, and keep it at room temperature. Here is how to dry basil: Harvest your basil plant in the morning just after the morning dew has air dried the leaves. I use my mini food processor to crush the leaves for my spice rack, but you could use an herb grinder instead. Peel the individual leaves off of the stem afterward. You can harvest whole plants, or cut off all but a couple of branches. Large harvests will really help your plant bush out but will also mean longer wait times between harvests. I personally like to do both, so that I have some on hand whenever I need it. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. There are pros and cons to both methods, so it really comes down to personal choice. Puree the herb, pour it into ice cube trays and put it in the freezer. Thanks for the great article! You can even use the stems if you wish. Hand's down the best way to store basil in to put the bunch in a glass or jar filled with water, just like flowers. Now that you know how to harvest basil for a fabulous crop, you’ll likely end up with more leaves than you can use! Related Post: How To Grow Basil: The Ultimate Guide. Over the years I’ve experimented to find all the best methods to preserve basil for use later. If you can’t find an answer to your question here, ask it in the comments below. How To Store Fresh Basil Leaves In The Fridge, How To Preserve Herbs Fresh From The Garden: 9 Best Ways, Learn about all the ways you can dry herbs from your garden here, How To Grow Basil From Seed: Complete Guide, How To Preserve & Store Peppers Long Term, How To Dry Cayenne Peppers To Prepare For Storage, Terms Of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy. I live and garden in Minneapolis, MN (zone 4b). TIPS FOR HARVESTING AND STORING BASIL: Basil is ready for harvesting when it's leaves are visibly mature. Instead, you could try taking stem cuttings and putting them in water, like a flowers in a vase, and transporting them that way. Trust me, you’ll want to savor that amazing flavor, because there’s nothing else like it. If you want to preserve basil until it’s ready for crushing—that is if you don’t want to wait until harvest time—you can do any of the following preservation methods. Learn about all the ways you can dry herbs from your garden here. Leave it uncovered, and place it in a spot where it will get bright, indirect light, but keep it away from heat. The green flower stalk will emerge, and you’ll soon see white flowers. Once you have your large basil harvest procured, you are ready to start the drying process. One of the most popular ways to preserve basil is to dry it. Your email address will not be published. You can also subscribe without commenting. Pack them loosely into a container, and place them into the fridge. I prefer to use an ice cube tray for this, because I can measure out the exact amount I need in my favorite recipes. For this year’s garden, Sarah has selected Genovese basil, opal basil, lemon basil, lime basil, and Thai basil. No worries about the basil leaves molding either, they definitely won’t mold when they’re frozen. Basil seed collecting is that simple. If you have already washed it, make sure to completely dry the leaves as quickly as you can, or they will start turning brown. Still have a few questions that need to be answered? Another place to store packed sweet basil leaves is in freezers, but … Pick a storage location that doesn’t get direct sunlight and tends to be at the cooler end of room temperature. Dried basil will last longer than fresh basil, but is usually much stronger than fresh herbs. To store Basil for later use: Frozen Basil: Freeze the fresh leaves by packing them tightly in an airtight container or plastic bag. Good luck! I like to leave a couple flowering branches for the bees. If your plant is looking as if it’s going to bolt or go to flower, pinch back the buds. There are plenty of easy ways to store basil for the short or long term that don’t require any fancy equipment or planning. Frozen basil keeps its flavor better than dried. But it’s best to use stored basil within a few months, and replenish your stash with a new batch from your garden every year. Begin harvesting basil shortly after the seed sprouts and the second set of leaves appear. There are several ways you can preserve basil for later use. Make sure the tips of all the stems are submerged. I would love to pick some in the morning, travel (via air) across the country, then put it in a refrigerator until we’re ready to make some pesto at our destination. This is especially helpful when harvesting at the end of the day when leaves have lost moisture naturally throughout the day. Related Post: How To Grow Basil From Seed: Complete Guide. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees through links to Amazon.com. The seeds are contained in the spent flower head. You want to cut the stem right above the branching point. To prevent leaves going black (oxidising), avoid washing until just before use. Thanks! ... By following any one of these methods for how to dry basil you’ll be able to store your harvest for up to 6 months, which should get you through to the next growing season! Make sure to trim (and use) the leaves regularly: it helps the basil plant to grow! BUT, if you want to let your basil set seeds for next season’s planting, leave the plant alone to do its thing. We’ll be following a gardener (Danielle Sherry) and a cook (Sarah Breckenridge) as they plant, maintain, harvest, store, and prepare food crops. Now I want to share them with you. Once they’re completely solid, pop them out of the trays, and store them in a freezer safe baggie. Harvest leaves a few at a time at first. From then until the first flower buds form it will grow lush, tender foliage. Dry the leaves and crush them. How to Dry Basil by Air Drying. Related Post: How & When To Harvest Basil Leaves. Think glass screw top containers or clamp top containers. You’ll want to pick that cluster off as soon as possible. . 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For instance, the corner of your kitchen countertop or a shelf on an open pantry might work. I love the way it smells and I will be harvesting the first set of leaves this week. My favorite way to store a quantity of fresh-harvested basil is to treat it like cut flowers. Enjoy your fresh basil harvest. Store the leaves just like you would your salad greens. The easiest way to store basil for the long term is to freeze it. If you want to keep basil in the fridge, make sure the leaves are completely dry before storing it. Harvest from the top down. You can use a dehydrator, warm oven, microwave, or lay them out on an herb drying rack. The leaves of a basil plant are high in moisture, so they need to dry quickly to prevent mold from growing. Pesto stores just as well as the leaves do, and you can use the herb trays or a mini ice tray to keep pesto in perfect portions for cooking. You can also try blanching them: Remove basil leaves from the stem and toss them in a pot with boiling water for 3-5 seconds. Leave enough leaves on the holy basil plant so that it will keep growing. Great, thanks for sharing your tip for drying basil leaves. You can simply freeze the whole basil leaves or chop them and store them in a container or freezer bag, but keep in mind that they might shrink a little. I use my salad spinner to spin dry the leaves, then I store them in the fridge right in that. With the right methods, you can keep that fresh flavor to enjoy all year long. How to Preserve Basil. Cut off the brown and spent flower heads and let them dry for a few days in a warm, dry location. Then, pour olive oil over the top to cover the leaves, and put the trays into the freezer. First, remove the lower leaves, and use those up first. Leave at least half of the leaves on the plant so that it continues to grow. Change the water every few days, and snip off the bottom of the stems as they get slimy. If flowers start to grow on the basil, cut them off immediately. You may harvest three to five times during the growing season if you do not cut it back too far. Dry the leaves and put them in a food processor. Fresh basil doesn’t store well, so harvest as close to when you need to use it. agardenforeveryschool basil harvest basil herbs Summer garden SYG If any of the leaves are touching the water, they will quickly turn black. So, if you want to keep it for longer than a few days, put it on the counter in a vase of water. At this point there should be 3-5 sets of basil leaves per plant. I spied my first cherry tomato flushing an orange-red yesterday. To harvest basil, wait until your basil plant is at least 6 inches (15 cm) tall. The best way to store basil for the short term is to put the stems into a vase of water, and keep it at room temperature. First, remove the lower leaves, and use those up first. When the basil has fully cooled, dry the leaves thoroughly. Basil leaves can also be dehydrated by very shor times in microwave. How to store basil leaves. A cupboard is ideal, and make sure to choose the right type of container. Basil is prized by cooks all over the world, and there are many varieties to choose from. But honestly, putting basil into the refrigerator is the worst way to store it. Read More... Have a basil plant in the house and it is growing really tall. You can also cut the stem 1/4 inch above a leaf if your basil plant is getting taller than you'd like. All content found on this website is copyrighted materials and any form of reproduction is strictly prohibited. You should take some basil seeds with you or purchase basil seeds from your nearest store. Cut back whole stem for use in larger harvests. Take the basil from your harvest and, after washing it, put it in a food processor. It’s essential to set a layer of parchment paper between each layer of basil to keep it from becoming a frozen … To harvest whole plants, cut them off 3” (7cm) above the ground with a hand pruner. You can harvest a basil plant at any time, but, as a general rule, try not to harvest any more than 25% of it in one go. Store it on the counter, though. Simply put all your favorite ingredients into a food processor, and mix until smooth. Put the whole in in a refrigerator. By preserving basil, you can bring a bit of your summer garden into the coldest part of the year. To keep your basil fresh for a week or more, do not remove the leaves from the stems. Storing basil is very easy, and a great way to utilize an overabundance from your garden! Remember that frost will kill your basil plants, so at the end of the season, be sure to harvest all of the plants before the first frost and preserve your harvest for future use. I’m guessing it will be a maximum of 8 hours between harvest and refrigeration. That way they won’t stick together at all. Then simply treat it like you would a flower bouquet. Place the stems of basil in a glass or jar of water, like a flower arrangement. Add chopped basil and water, stock or oil to the ice cubes. You can harvest your basil at any time during the season to dry, or you can wait until the end of the summer and dry any that’s left. Again, it’s best to make sure your basil isn’t wet before preserving it this way (or you might end up with one giant popsicle). Learn more about how to freeze herbs from your garden here. So, it’s best to use it up within a few days. They are still fresh in the fridge! To harvest, use either your fingers or scissors to sever clusters of leaves from larger stems right above a … In this post, I will walk you through each method in detail. I love this plant and I now grow it and collect it seeds to grow every spring. In a few weeks, your basil plants will be ready to harvest again. I’m a passionate gardener who loves growing everything from vegetables, herbs, and flowers to succulents, tropicals, and houseplants - you name, I've grown it! You don’t even have to chop them up first. Then, sweet basil leaves, after picking and drying, should be stored in air-tight containers and kept in a dark place. Basil can be harvested as soon as it’s got six to eight leaves. Watch our “How To Harvest Basil” video on the Schoolyard Gardens YouTube channel and learn from Claire how to dead head, harvest and store your beautiful basil! To … How to harvest and store basil? Related Post: How To Preserve Herbs Fresh From The Garden: 9 Best Ways. I recommend using a little extra virgin olive oil in the puree, especially if you are going to be making pesto with it. Simply break off chunks as needed for garden-fresh flavor in recipes. You do have to watch closely, but it is so much quicker and retains the brightness mostly. You’re welcome! Do you know how long basil can be kept at room temperature after you harvest it? All you need to do is put the leaves into storage bags, and pop them into the freezer. They don’t have to be completely dry in order to freeze them. Then, pinch off any number of leaves with your fingers to use as a garnish or in a recipe. Basil is such a great crop in the summer, but you can also store it for the winter. Years I ’ ve ever seen begin harvesting basil shortly how to harvest and store basil the morning, to. Like cut flowers intact and plunk them in a warm, dry location how to harvest and store basil store spinner to spin dry leaves. Whole plants, cut them off immediately a long time fresh from the garden: 9 best ways dehydrated very! Continues to grow basil: basil is to dry quickly to prevent mold from growing out! Weeks, your basil will grow lush, tender foliage do I stop it growing! 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Store it for later use more details in your yard will turn your basil leaves form! Love this plant and I 've been gardening most of my life your recipes –. Harvesting when it 's leaves are completely dry in order to freeze it cut it back far! And wash them before I use my salad spinner to spin dry the leaves, this isn t...