How To Prune Basil Leaves?
The first thing you need to do when cutting down your basil plants is prune them back. You don’t want too many branches growing up or they will compete with other herbs and vegetables for light. Also, if you have young basil plants, you may not want to let them get too big because then they won’t be able to produce enough fruit.
When you prune your basil plants, you want to start at the bottom and work your way up. If you are going to remove some of the larger branches, try to keep them close together so they don’t look like a bunch of grapes.
Once again, it’s all about aesthetics!
You can use a knife or even just your fingers to prune your basil. Just remember that you want to avoid damaging the roots of the basil plant.
A good rule of thumb is to leave no more than one inch (2.5 cm) between each branch when pruning.
If you are using scissors, be sure to cut only what you really need and don’t go too far. If any of the stems are thicker than your pinky, you can cut them to about half that size to promote more growth.
If you want bush basil rather than a vine, you can also cut off as much as half of the roots.
Now that you know how to cut back basil plants, you just need to decide how you will use your fresh basil!
How To Prune Basil?
If you are like me, you like to have fresh basil leaves on hand at all times. Nothing quite beats fresh herbs to make a good meal just a little bit better.
Fortunately, with a little bit of know-how and the right tools, growing and trimming your own basil plants is easy. It also saves you some money since store-bought basil can get pretty expensive at times.
The first thing you will need is a good, deep pot. The basil plant grows large and you need to make sure that it has plenty of soil to grow in.
Also, if possible, choose a pot with some breathing holes to prevent the plant from becoming waterlogged.
Next, you will need to buy some seeds or starter plants. You can find these at any local gardening store, nursery or even some superstores.
Pick out a few plants that look the healthiest and transplant them into your pot.
Make sure you give your basil plenty of water. It should be soaked daily and really soaked when it is very hot outside.
Also, make sure to fertilize it about once a month or so. If you have time, it is also a good idea to give it some time in the sun each day. Just be sure to keep an eye on it to make sure it isn’t getting too hot!
Trimming basil plants is very easy. All you really need to do is cut off the flower spike when it starts to grow.
Typically, you will want to let it grow enough to generate new roots and then cut it back down to the bottom sets of leaves. You can then replant it in a smaller pot or just leave it in the same one.
As for the leaves themselves, it is okay to cut across the leaf or lengthwise. Typically, if you are using it for flavoring a liquid or sauce, it is better to shred or cut the leaf up before adding it to the container.
This will help release the flavor of the herb into the food much quicker.
Enjoy Your Fresh Basil!
You now know how to trim basil and how to cut basil plants. You also know that you can use it in a variety of recipes ranging from main entrees to desserts!
Now that your basil is trimmed and ready to use, what will you make with it first?
Remember, fresh herbs are always better in taste than dried, so try to use what you can as soon as possible. The longer you store the basil, the less flavor it will have.
Trimmed basil should be good for about a week if stored properly. It is okay to keep it in the fridge, but for longer storage, you will need to freeze it.
If you don’t plan on using it within a week or two, freezing is your best option.
You can also freeze any left over basil stems and pieces. Just put them in a ziploc bag and back in the freezer.
They will be good for at least six months.
Be sure when you thaw them out that you use them as soon as possible since they will begin to lose flavor as they defrost.
Happy cooking and enjoy your basil!
Sources & references used in this article:
Distinct variety of basil by DR Bowden, PW Friedman – US Patent 6,552,247, 2003 – Google Patents
Effects of mixed hardwood and sugarcane biochar as bark-based substrate substitutes on container plants production and nutrient leaching by P Yu, L Huang, Q Li, IM Lima, PM White, M Gu – Agronomy, 2020 – mdpi.com
Basil plant named ‘Maha’ by DR Bowden, PW Friedman – US Patent App. 09/129,027, 2003 – Google Patents
Power driven pruning saws by GA Roy – US Patent 3,373,489, 1968 – Google Patents
Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) attracts and benefits the green lacewing Ceraeochrysa cubana Hagen by MC Batista, MCM Fonseca, AV Teodoro, EF Martins… – Biological Control, 2017 – Elsevier
Preliminary report on a first season of excavations at Teleilat Ghassul by JB Hennessy – Levant, 1969 – Taylor & Francis