How Do You Harvest Basil?


Quick Answer

Harvest your basil regularly throughout the summer to keep the plant growing all season long. Water the basil the night before you pick it, harvest the leaves in the morning and then get the fresh basil ready to use. Fresh basil has the best scent and flavor, but you can also freeze or dry the leaves to preserve them for later use.

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How Do You Harvest Basil?
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Full Answer

  1. Water the basil the night before

    The night before you plan to harvest your basil, water the plant. Basil plants prefer moist soil, and the leaves that you pick the following day are likely to last longer if they have the opportunity to absorb water overnight.

  2. Pick the leaves in the morning

    Basil's flavor is best when it is picked in the morning before the afternoon heat sets in. Harvest from the top of the plant down. If you are harvesting a large amount of basil, cut it back by no more than one-third, and cut it back to just above a pair of leaves so you do not leave a stub.

  3. Inspect and rinse your harvested basil

    Give your basil harvest a visual inspection. Pluck the leaves off of the stems. Throw away dead or discolored leaves. Give the basil a rinse under cold running water, and let it air dry before using it.

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