Basil plant is quite versatile and its annual lifecycle comprises three well-defined stages.
- Juvenile stage
- Transition stage
- Productive stage
This stage is characterized by plenty of leaves on a plant that has a height of approximately 12 inches. The leaves can be pruned but it is suggested to leave the small ones and let them grow.
At this stage, there aren’t many leaves left on the plant. According to many gardeners, the plant can endure only two cuttings and that too two to three weeks apart before the termination of this stage.
As the name indicates, this stage welcomes the blooming period but negates the idea of growing rich green leaves anymore. This stage marks the end of the lifecycle of our very own well-wisher. The plant produces seeds and dies to initiate a new lifecycle.
The height of the basil plant is a great marker for the initiation of harvest. Just when your plant attains the height of about 6 to 8 weeks, you know your leaves are ready to spark your food.
It is better to harvest the leaves early in the morning because, at that precise time, the leaves are at their juiciest. The juvenile stage is also preferable for harvesting the leaves. Moreover, to get a handful of highly flavored leaves, try to pick them any time before bloom.
All around the globe, basil leaves are highly celebrated due to its remarkable flavor. Simply just prune the leaves with scissors and add it to your pesto to have the flavor that beats every spice.
Basil leaves are best stored in a freezer. Modestly fill the re-sealable bag with basil leaves and place it in the freezer to preserve its flavor.
Another way of storing the leaves is by opting for the drying method. They can either be air-dried in a well-ventilated room for three to four days or place them in the oven at the lowest heat with the door slightly ajar. Dehydrators also work wonderfully (and quickly) for basil.