With lemon basil’s beautiful leaves and exotic aroma, a planter will be hard pressed not to fall in love with the plant’s unique qualities. But in order to use lemon basil beyond its excellent appearance, one must know how to harvest it correctly. This article will indulge into the specifics of harvesting lemon basil, a unique plant that is rapidly growing in home gardens for its powerful citrus taste. From my experience, I can tell you that lemon basil is one of the more specific herbs in its harvesting and must done carefully to prevent death. For this reason this article will focus on several key areas: when to harvest lemon basil, Where to harvest lemon basil, and what to do with harvested lemon basil.
When to Harvest lemon basil
Lemon basil, like many other plants in the basil family, are very specific about when they need to be harvested. The rich aroma that comes from the essential oils is at its peak in the early hours of the morning, which is why an herbal garden smells its absolute best in the morning before sunrise. I encourage you, if you are going to be using lemon basil to pick it at this time. You will secure the most amount of flavor when adding it to your foods, tea, or herbal medicine.
Where to Harvest lemon basil
I have found that if you cut lemon basil right above a group of leaves it grows back a lot quicker and stronger. Each time you trim lemon basil, the stem grows stronger, allowing for a more powerful taste. This plant requires that you do this because otherwise the tip of the stem where you cut will wither away and die, hindering the plants growth. I recommend that you use a pair of fine scissors, allowing you to make a very close cut above a group of leaves. If you have already cut your lemon basil in the middle of the stem and are reaping the negative effects, which looks like a brown tip, do not worry. Simply cut down to the next layer of leaves and in a few days your plant will be back to normal. A final word of advice on where to harvest lemon basil is in the fact that you want to go down to approximately 6 inches when you harvest the plant, keeping it at its absolute most fruitful quality.
What to do with Harvested lemon basil
Now that you have your lemon basil freshly cut there is the question, “what do I do now?” Have no fear, to preserve lemon basil, I have found that freezing it is the best solution. It will retain nearly its entire flavor. If the herb is left in the open hair it will lose a lot of its essential oils, which is where the truly amazing taste lies. But, before you can freeze your lemon basil there are several key pieces of advice that I can provide you. I have learned these through my own mistakes. First, wash the lemon basil gently. Second, let the leaves air dry for about ten minutes. Thirdly, place them in a tray in the freezer. This will allow for a clean and fresh taste when you are ready to use them. They will last up to ten days in the freezer, each day after they will begin to have a lesser quality of taste.