Picking and Storing Basil

Fresh basil is a delicious and powerful herb and the OTR Homegrown garden has a nice share of basil that will bloom all summer long. Many of our basil plants are producing large basil leaves right now; the more that we remove the large basil leaves the more the plant’s energy will go to the maturing leaves as well as allow for better air flow through the garden bed.

How to harvest basil

A healthy basil plant will have a variety of sizes of leaves on them. We want to pick the leaves of the basil plant that are the largest relative to the rest of the leaves; large leaves are thick and dark green, possibly several inches long. Simply holding the leaf firmly and pulling it off the plant will suffice. Pick the large leafs off of the plant leaving the medium and small leafs on the plant to grow large.

Storing Basil for the Winter

Basil is best served freshly picked. But to store basil for the winter follow these simple instructions. Pick the mature basil leaves and wash them. Dry well and add several tablespoons of olive oil (the amount of olive oil depends on the amount of basil leaves), use enough olive oil to coat the basil leaves. Turn the leaves with your hand to ensure that all of the leaves are coated with the olive oil. Then, stuff the olive oil coated basil leaves into Ziplock plastic bags until the bag can barely hold any more. close the Ziplock bag and put into the freezer. When you want to serve basil in December, thaw your basil and prep however you like. Remember to use small, serving size bags to store your basil, that way you are not having to thaw more than you need when you want basil.

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