My herbs are going strong and ready for some big cuts. Up until now, I've only harvested for immediate need. Now I'm thinking about freezing pesto, herb drying, and, in a few months, it will be time to harvest basil and oregano for canning marinara sauce! I've fielded a lot of "how to" questions from friends and family lately. Most questions are about harvesting basil. Basil can be tricky. It loves heat, sun and water, but if you prune it too low you'll kill it. If you don't prune it enough, it goes to seed. So what are you supposed to do?!
1. Don't prune lower than the bottom two leaf sets. Start at the base of the plant and count up two sets. You are free to prune from there. But what if you don't want or need that much basil?
2. Start at the top and cut at the base of the leaf set. You are cutting the stalk right where the next set sits below, you are not cutting individual leaves. See images below.
3. If you notice little white flowers, but you don't have time to harvest, pick off the flowers and harvest as soon as possible. Basil will keep for a few days in the fridge. I store mine wrapped in a damp paper towel, inside of a plastic bag or container.
Herb growing is a great way to bring variety into your kitchen, and is the perfect starter for novice gardeners. It's also much cheaper to grow it than buy it!
Here are some harvesting pictures, thank you to my hand model! Please feel free to contact me with recipe suggestions and/or questions!