A bit of basil or mint seasoning to food, tea, or a mojito intensifies its essence and pleases the palate. Most Western food, especially Italian cuisine, uses basil. It serves various purposes, including toppings for pizza, a herbal spice for pasta and other dishes, a particular flavoring for salads, and more.
In contrast to their use in cooking, basil or mint have many health benefits and are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Commonly, basil is used as herbal medicine to cure snake bites, colds, and common inflammation.
Now that the summers are here and your craving for a refreshing mint mojito is stronger than ever, it’s the appropriate time to harvest the basil or mint plant in your backyard. But is it possible to harvest the plant without killing it?
Well, it is possible to harvest a basil/mint plant in your backyard without endangering it.
Although they regrow after each harvest, basil or mint plants can seem sturdy. But, if you harvest them carefully without harming the plant, you can extend their lifespan and improve the quality of the mint leaves you pick after each harvesting.
In this article, we will teach you different ways to harvest your basil/mint plant safely and without endangering its life. Let’s get some valuable tips.
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A Step-By-Step Guide to Harvesting Basil or Mint Without Killing It
No one wants to harm something they made by themselves. You, too, must adore your plants and never think of harming them. But occasionally, inexperience hurts. We do not want you to commit the same error. Basil or mint plants are of great use, but if harvesting goes wrong, it can kill the plant.
We are going to provide you with a step-by-step guide to harvesting your basil or mint plant without causing any damage to it.
Step1:- Examine your plant before harvesting. Assess the new and tiny leaves of the plant that you can typically find on the top of the plant.
Step2:- Whatever amount of harvest you need or going to do, make sure you use well-sanitized tools. A sanitized tool for harvesting will prevent the reach of any kind of harmful bacteria at the freshly created entry side.
The best tool for harvesting is a good pair of sharp scissors. Generally, using kitchen scissors is preferable because they are cleaner and more hygienic. You can also use garden cutters, but ensure they are clean and haven’t been used on other garden plants before harvesting.
Step3:- If you do not have the proper tool, you can use your hands to harvest the basil or mint plant. However, wash and sanitize your hands both before and after harvesting. Pull out the leaf from the stem’s center. Make a move when your thumbnail gets in contact with your forefinger’s flesh.
Sep4:- Make a mind about how much basil or mint to harvest. You can harvest the plant in two amounts.
1. Harvesting in a Smaller Amount
If you need a few leaves of basil or mint, let’s say, for garnishing your tea or mojito or topping your vegan pizza, then you can easily pick the leaves from the plant using a scissor or simply your fingers according to your convenience.
But, while picking the leaves, ensure you do not rip off any of the plant’s stems. Do it with a gentle touch. Plug leaves equally all around the plant for balanced growth.
You can also use this moment to squeeze the base where the leaves and stems join. This trick will help in producing even bushier leaves before the next harvest. With its flower buds, you can perform the same action.
2. Harvesting a Colossal Amount
When needed for medical use, you will have to harvest a larger amount of basil leaves. For larger harvesting, the one way is to cut off one whole stem of the plant. Chop off a third of the entire height of the plant as you work your way from up to down. This technique is called pruning.
Pruning is a researched and verified way to hasten basil plant growth overall.
Pruning your basil plant over a gap of one or a couple of weeks will not only improve the plant’s growth, but you will get denser leaves to harvest next time.
After this harvesting process, do remember to pinch or trim a quarter-inch above a leaf node. If you get it done correctly, you shall have another successful harvest just a couple of weeks before the first harvest.
Note: Plucking the young stems encourages the plant to bloom by directing all the energy towards the growth. Additionally, newly grown leaves have more flavor and crunch than the old ones.
Step5:- Harvest gives a proper gap of time. It is a very crucial tip to keep in mind that you give at least a two to three-month break after the first harvest of your basil or mint plant. Early harvesting may result in stunted growth of plants that cannot recoup from the stress.
The Best Time to Harvest The Basil or Mint Plants
If you have to choose a specific time for harvesting basil, we will say that the early morning is the best time to harvest a basil or mint plant. The leaves are soft and fresh in the mornings, at their best flavor.
Harvesting mint in summers is best if done before flowering. Cut the top inch or so of the stems to harvest the mint. The mint grows robustly as an outcome of this process.
On the chilled winter days, you must migrate the pot of basil plant to a covered place, such as your living room or kitchen space. Since the weather is so cold outside, this will seize the plant’s growth. Keeping indoors will help your plant grow well and be healthy.
Best Ways to Restore And Use Basil or Mint Herbs
After plucking basil or mint leaves from the plant, eliminate the dead leaves (if any) and collect the green ones in a bowl. Wash them off to eliminate all the dirt, insects, pests, or pesticide chemicals.
You can restore the herb leaves in several ways to retain their flavor and nutrients and use it for the next 2-3 months.
- After deep cleaning the herb leaves, dry them using a clean napkin or kitchen towel. After ensuring that the towel absorbs all wetness, you can store it in an airtight box. You can apply this process if you want to use the herb leaves within one or two weeks.
- To use it for a longer span of life, one or two months, freezing the leaves is the best way to adapt. For longer restoring. Take the leaves off the stem, then soak them in boiling water for 5 to 10 seconds. Put it quickly into an ice-filled bowl, then place it on a clean, dry paper towel after a few minutes. After that, you can freeze the basil leaves for a while by placing them in a plastic container.
Advantages of Harvesting Basil or Mint Plant Without Killing It
The first and foremost benefit is that fresh, fragrant leaves add nutritional value to the meal seasoned with it.
Secondly, harvesting basil or mint plants motivates the plant to put extra effort and energy into growing heftier and healthier.
After one harvest, you can observe the difference in the flavor and fragrance of the leaves.
How Not to Harvest Basil or Mint Plants to Prevent Any Harm
- Do not pull the stems: Pulling does not only harm the stems but also uproots the whole plant.
- Never crush the leaves while plucking: It will destroy the flavor of the herbs as well as rip the steam sometimes.
- Never harvest the plant from the bottom: If you harvest the plant from the bottom and not the top, the plant will bloom, flower and drop the seeds, and eventually die.
- Never pluck all the leaves at once: The plant’s leaves serve as the plant’s primary source of breathing. When a plant intakes carbon dioxide, water molecules convert into glucose, which the plant uses as energy. You deprive a plant of its energy source by picking all its new leaves.
Basil or mint herbs are, undoubtedly, one multi-purpose plant. It not only purifies the air but also has a pleasing fragrance. In this article, we have given you a rigorous guide that you should follow to better harvest your basil or mint for daily use without killing it.