How To Harvest Basil To Maximize Shelf Life (15 Best Ways)

Basil is one of the king herbs that can be easily grown and it can be used in varieties of recipes. Basil leaves can be used in various forms such as frozen leaves, dried leaves and they can be also kept in a water jar for storing.

How to harvest basil
How to harvest basil

Basil is also used as a fragrant herb in many of the recipes that will enhance its aroma. Today we are going to learn How To Harvest Basil so that we can use such an amazing herb for a longer time of period.

when to pick basil?

Picking basil is an important part of basil growth. But when to and how is the vital information. How do you know the basil plant is ready to be harvested?

Once planted, it can take 50-60 days to grow fully and then ready for harvesting. Pick all the healthy leaves ti e to time. This can make basil healthy, bushy and prevent flowering .

How To Harvest Basil Seeds

The pollination in the basil tree plant is done through small flying insects. Fresh basil plants can also be harvested through seeds and they can be grown at homes also. For growing basil seeds through plants, the seeds can be taken from the flower head.

It is better to take a colander for collecting basil seeds from the flower head because the seeds are very small in size. After collecting them in a colander let them dry at a warm temperature for almost a day.

Take the dried seeds and carefully keep them inside a paper bag. Next, crush them using a rolling pin. This is a recommended method of preserving basil harvest.

These harvested basil seeds can then be placed in a shallow tray along with the pulverized plant material.

How To Harvest Basil without Killing the Plant

Most people think that basil plants can’t be grown by killing the existing plant. But it is possible. If you are wondering how to cut basil from the plant without killing it then follow the given steps: –

  • One of the major ways to harvest the basil is to take the plant seeds from the flower head. Followed by drying them and planting them.
  • Another form of growing the basil is to cut the stem from half, don’t go much deep. If you cut it from near to the root the plant will die, cut it almost from half.
How to harvest basil
How to harvest basil

When you cut it from half the existing plant will grow again and the new stem that is cut from half will replenish in other pots.

For maintaining basil plants and harvesting them, these methods are extremely useful.

Best Method To Harvest Basil So It Keeps Growing

To harvest fresh basil, take individual branches or stems and cut them right above the intersection point or at the point where other side shoots appear.

You mustn’t stub a long branch immediately above the intersection. This will ensure that the plant can still grow from the side shoots. It can be harvested in 1-2 weeks time.

As soon as the seed starts to sprout begin harvesting the sprout and soon enough a set of leaves will appear. At each harvest, it is advised to remove 10-15% foliage for unaffected flower growth.

Planting the basil plant or seed earlier also helps in harvesting fresh herbs; the more you delay the harvest the maturity of the plant is delayed further.

When the first flower bud begins to appear and the plant grows up to a height of 12 inches tall, cut the stem back to almost 1/3rd or 3/4th of the side of the shoots. This will give you almost 30 percent harvest of the buds on the total foliage of the plants.

See also  Sour to Sweet: 15 Lemon Tree Care Tips For Faster Growth

This is also the most popular way of harvesting basil for pesto in such a way so that it keeps growing.

How To Dry Basil- Quick Tips

Dry basil is used for making dishes. It has an intense flavour when it is prepared from fresh basil leaves plant but as soon as it gets older it degrades quickly.  The dried basil herb is almost three to four times stronger in aroma than the fresh basil herbs.

How to harvest basil
what do basil leaves look like?
  • Basil leaves contain a great amount of moisture in it. The method to dry basil is to pluck the fresh basil leaves and then place them in a container. Morning time suits the plant best for drying, cut the herbs of the plant.
  • The stem is to be cut from almost ¼ inch from the node so that the plant will grow again. This is the right method of cutting basil. It is recommended to use more basil leaves than you need because their size is reduced almost to half when they are dried,
  • Bind the stems that are cut in bundles and hang them to dry in a paper bag. Punch some holes inside the paper bag. The bag is advised to hang in a room with dim light and low humidity. The basil leaves can be also dried using a food dehydrator.
  • There is another method used for drying basil where people use a microwave. In this method, the basil leaves are to be dried using a microwave until they become crisp.

After drying basil leaves can be used for a longer period. The following above are the best methods of how to harvest and dry basil.

How To Harvest Sweet Basil

Ocimum bascilicum (Sweet basil) is the most commonly grown basil and it can grow up to 24 inches. It has green colored leaves which are about 3 inches long. Sweet basils are used for many dishes including tomato sauces, soups, and salads.

If you want to harvest sweet basil then follow the given steps.

  1. Watering – Basil plants need moist soil. So, it is crucial to maintain soil moisture. Failing to do so will lead to the wilting of leaves.
  2. Feeding – To feed a basil plant, use compost of liquid seaweed extract and compost tea and spray the mixture onto the plant twice during the season.
  3. Mulching – You will need to do the mulching around the plant to prevent the moisture in the soil from evaporating in the atmosphere and also to suppress the weeds around it. Use chopped or compost leaves and use it away from the steam to prevent it from rotting.
  4. Care – To produce more leaves keep the basil pinched back. Take out terminal shots after every two or three weeks, cutting fresh basil will result in more leaves for harvest and it will also encourage branching. Pinch out the flowers as soon as they are formed, to properly cut the flowers take the flower stem by 1/4th. Basil can’t tolerate frost, so if there is a frost warning around your area then it is better to harvest the whole plant.
  5. Container growing – Basil is an excellent container plant; choose at least 6 inches long container for Basil plant as its roots grow deeper. Keep the container near the window which gets an adequate amount of sunlight.
  6. Winter growing – In winters keep your Basils indoor and use seeds or cuttings from plants cultivated in summer. Small-leaved Basils are best for indoor purposes.

How To Harvest and Store Basil

For many people, there lies a question that often remains unanswered i.e. how to harvest and store basil. Here are the following tips you can consider while harvesting and storing basil:-  

Harvesting Basil Leaves Tips

  • The best season to harvest basil is summer if you continue to pinch out the stems, right from the start of the summer. It will get easy to harvest them.
  • The major method to harvest it is to cut basil to the 3/4th part of the basil plant. In this way, the old plant when nurtured carefully will grow back again.
  • Planting basil seeds by drying them and taking them out from the head of the flower is also a method to harvest the basil.

Storing Basil Tips

  • The best time to store basil is when the plant blooms and its leaves turn bright green. Crunching the basil leaves is also a method to find out when is basil ready to harvest. If the leaves are crunched easily they can be stored.
  • Freezing is one of the major methods used for storing the basil. Wash the leaves in cold water, and dry them with paper towels. Drizzle a little olive oil on the leaves and store them in the refrigerator.
  • The other method to store basil is to turn the leaves in a powdery form and store them in a zip-locked pack.
See also  Moringa Seed Germination: Easy 5 Steps, Spacing, Yield

Basil gets ruined fast, it cant be fresh for a long time. Therefore, avoid storing them for a longer duration. Also, it is advisable to use them as early as possible.

How And When To Harvest Basil

If you have this question in your mind that when I can harvest basil, then the following tips might help:

  • The best time to harvest the basil leaves is after the plant reaches a height of up to 6-8 inches.
  • Once the temperature reaches around 27C the basil leaves start to fall out. So it’s better to pick the leaves before this time.
  • Harvesting in the early hours of morning is considered best as leaves are juiciest at that time.
  • It is advised to pick more leaves even if you don’t need them as basil can be stored for later use also.
  • The basil plants usually produce 5-8 cups of basil leaves every week even if you are harvesting them regularly.

How To Harvest Basil Plant

If you’re also facing problems regarding when to start harvesting basil, then follow these simple steps: –

  • The best practice before harvesting basil plants is to hydrate the basil leaves in a bowl of water before using them.
  • This method is very helpful for harvesting basil at the end of the day when the leaves are left as it is for almost the whole day to dry out.
  • The buds need to be pinched back when the plant is looking like it is going to bolt. This is an indicator of the change in gardening conditions.
  • It is also advised that the basil plant is harvested best after the 1st hard frost.

How To Harvest Basil Leaves

The basil leaves are delicate and need to be harvested at the right time. The right process to harvest the basil leaves is to let the plant grow up to a height of 6 to 8 inches.

When the plant grows up to this height and leaves turn green in color, cut them to the point where they are joined to the stem.

This can also be achieved by trimming basil leaves from time to time and storing them. The leaves when they are uprooted from the plants will need to be washed nicely, and then dried.

You can use natural drying for the leaves as well as artificial methods for drying. Then the leaf is stored in powdered form or as it is for further use. This is the method to harvest the basil leaves.

How To Clean Basil After Harvest

The process of cleaning the basil after harvesting goes through completely drying the leaves of the basil plant. By cutting the stem in half you will also overcome the dilemma in your mind that does basil grow back.

For cleaning the leaves, place them under running water and then wipe them using a paper towel. In this way, they can be cleaned.

How To Grow Basil Indoors

While growing basil at home, people have many questions in their minds such as how to harvest basil for pesto, what to do with a basil plant, how to prune basil and many others.

The following steps are some of them that will be beneficial for growing basil indoors: –

  1. Take the potting mix and lightly moisten it then distribute it evenly among as many pots as you can fill. Take some seeds and sprinkle them throughout the soil. After covering seeds with soil, it is important to do watering to moisten the soil.
  2. Basils need an adequate amount of sunlight to grow so it is advised to keep them near windows near the southern side. Avoid places where the temperature drops suddenly during night and near drafty windows.
  3. Use scissors to separate crowded seedlings and unwanted weeds.
  4. Keep the soil moist only. Basils won’t grow properly if the soil is wet; over-watering can be harmful to your plant.
  5. In a month or two it will develop completely.

How To Harvest Mint Leaves Like a Pro

The Mint harvesting process can begin once the plant reaches 8-10 cm tall in height. You can pick individual leaves for harvesting or you can cut the entire leaves and stems from the soil.

See also  Tree Branches On Power Line To House [Exposed Powerline Fixes]

Below are the crucial steps to follow in order to harvest mints.

  • Once you pick fresh leaves, Dry the mint well after a wash. To dry the leaves you can use paper towels or other absorbent towels.
  • If you are using the entire stems, carefully remove the leaves when the mint is dry.
  • Put the leaves on a flat sheet in a single layer.
  • To dry leaves you can pick natural sunlight to dry them or you can use the oven. For the oven preheat it 180 F or 80 C for two hours.

How To Harvest Oregano (Top Tips)

If you are thinking about what to do with fresh basil from the garden, one of the best uses of it is to harvest them as oregano. The oregano can be harvested by the use of several methods.

The best way to harvest oregano is to pull them off from the tiny leaves and let them dry or you can use the entire stem to let it dry and when it’s dried crumble the crisp leaves off. For this, you need to bundle all the stems together and let them dry by hanging them in a room with low moisture.

You can use a food dehydrator to quicken the drying process. But in this method, you need to keep turning the stems so they get exposed to air and heat from all sides uniformly.

Once the leaves are dry you can remove them by pinch the stem from the bottom and pulling them in an upward direction.

How To Harvest Cilantro without killing the plant

The process of harvesting cilantro is relatively easy. The basic step that is required for harvesting is to cut the cilantro plant about one-third of its original length. The one-third of parts that have been cut can be used for cooking and the bottom one will replenish new leaves on it.

Cilantro can be harvested around once a week. If you are providing good manure and growing conditions are better you can harvest it more than once a week.

When cilantro is harvested it is not ready to cook immediately, it is advised to freeze the cutting until they are ready to be cooked.

How To Harvest Parsley

Parsley can be harvested easily just like the other herbs. You can snip the plant regularly and it will result in additional growth.

The plant needs to be cut at the ground level or you can take a spring or two for starting the harvest. After harvesting you can store the Parsley in an airtight container.

FAQS on How To Harvest Basil Steps

Q: how long does it take for basil to grow?

Once sowing basil seeds , it may take 7 to 10 days for Basil germinates. It can easily see the herb growth from your eyes.

Q: Can I harvest the top half of my plant?

Yes, you can. This is actualy heathy for hebrs and greens. It makes plant growth faster and promote new leaves faster.

You may also like the below articles harvesting tips.


The article given above has abundantly described the answers to many questions related to basil plants such as how to harvest basil, how to use basil, how to use basil leaves and how to cut basil plants and many others.

Basil plants are good for the garden and they are also healthy for human beings. They can be also stored for further use and it is also used as flavouring ingredients in many of the dishes.

Follow the steps given above and try to grow your basil plant. How To Harvest Basil – Youtube Guide.

Did you find the article interesting? Please follow GardeningLovy Pinterest and save this pin to theHow To Harvest Basil” board. Leave a comment below, share it, like it, rate it. We’d love to hear from you! write to Contact Us. We, as a small blogger, need all the help, motivation, and appreciation. This small help for Subscribing and sharing on social media will be appreciated!