When To Harvest Basil

Basil is a tender annual herb that’s easily grown in warm weather. It prefers full sun, moist soil, and regular watering. Pinching off the flowers will help to promote leaf growth, but you can also allow the plants to flower and set seed for a second crop in the fall.

If you’re wondering when to harvest basil, and how much you should be harvesting from your plants, this article will answer all your questions.

When To Harvest Basil

Harvest basil as soon as it reaches a height of 8 inches or so by cutting the stems with scissors or pruning shears. If you allow it to grow taller, the plant will become leggy, making it more difficult to harvest and dry properly.

Basil should be harvested early in the morning before the heat of the day causes the leaves to wilt. Basil should not be washed until just before use because washing will cause it to turn black quickly.

When Is The Best Month To Harvest Basil?

July and August are the best months for harvesting basil; however, you can still harvest it during all summer months without any issues.

If you’re growing your own basil at home, then you should be able to find some leaves throughout most of the year if you look hard enough.

How Long Can Basil Stay In The Ground?

Basil can stay in the ground for up to 3-4 months. If you want to keep harvesting basil, cut off new growth and leave the roots in the ground. The plant will continue to grow and produce more leaves for you!

Can You Harvest Basil Too Early?

When you first start growing basil, it’s natural to want to harvest some leaves once you see some. The problem is that if you take the leaves before they’re ready, your basil will be less flavorful and the leaves will be small.

Basil plants don’t get very big; they remain small enough that you can easily harvest them with a pair of scissors or by cutting off the tips of their stems with a sharp knife. If you wait until the plant is at least six inches tall (and preferably longer) before harvesting any leaves, then it’s likely that your herbs will have gained enough height and strength on their stems so as not to wilt easily after being harvested early in life.

How to Harvest Basil

To pick off the leaves, you can use your hands or a knife. For this method, I would suggest using a knife because it’s faster than trying to pull all of the leaves off with your fingers. Simply cut at an angle along each leaf until it comes free from its stem (don’t worry about cutting too close; you’ll get more basil).

When harvesting basil in large quantities and using a knife, try not to chop all of your basil at once into little pieces! Instead, keep most of it whole so that you can wrap up some sprigs and give them away as gifts later.

You can also use scissors if they’re handy—they work well if there’s just one or two stems worth of herbs that need harvesting. Slice across each leaf with the blunt end facing down (this will prevent cutting yourself) and remove the entire clump from either side of the stem with one motion; then turn over and repeat until all leaves have been separated from their stalks. If there’s no way around chopping everything into tiny pieces by hand every time we want some fresh green sauce on our pasta tonight then we’d better find another way!

Storing Basil After Harvesting

Basil is a very popular herb. It can be used in a variety of ways and is often used in Italian cooking. However, basil does not last for more than a few days after it has been harvested. To ensure that your basil stays fresh for as long as possible, you need to store it properly after harvesting.

Storing Basil After Harvesting in the Refrigerator

Basil can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks if you keep it in a plastic bag or container with holes poked in it so that air can circulate. Make sure to remove any wilted leaves before storing and wash leaves thoroughly with water before placing them into the refrigerator.

Storing Basil After Harvesting on the Counter

It is also possible to store basil on the countertop instead of in the refrigerator if you live in an area where temperatures are at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit year-round or if you don’t have access to electricity during winter months.

Place each stem of basil into a glass filled with water and place this glass inside another larger container full of water so that roots do not dry out completely.

This method will keep your basil fresh for up to two weeks but make sure that there is some sunlight coming into room where you’re keeping them.

Pickle Your Basil

Basil leaves can be pickled like other herbs. Pickling preserves them by removing excess moisture from the leaves so they don’t rot as easily when stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

To start pickling your basil leaves, begin by filling a glass jar with fresh water and letting it sit overnight so any impurities can settle at the bottom.

Next day, drain out the water and add fresh water along with about 1/4 cup salt per quart of water (or about 1 tablespoon per pint). Add your basil leaves and let them sit for at least 24 hours before storing them in an airtihgt container.

Keep Your Basil Fresh By Freezing It

You can keep your fresh basil fresh by storing it in the freezer until you are ready to use it. Freezing basil will preserve its flavor and keep insects from destroying it during storage.

To freeze basil, simply wash the leaves thoroughly with cold water and pat them dry with paper towels before placing them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper.


We hope this article has helped you understand when to harvest basil. Basil is a wonderful herb to grow in your garden, and as long as you follow these tips, you can be sure that it will continue to grow for many years.