Basil has got to be one of my absolute favorite herbs. The scent which is difficult to describe is something I enjoy in the kitchen for Italian seasoning.
The flavor is strong and a little bit goes a long way. However this doesn’t stop me from doubling up when including into homemade sauce, salad, or sprinkled over grilled salmon or chicken.
Today I want to share how you can dry your own, collect the seeds, and enjoy the many health benefits along the way.
Let’s see if basil is something you may want to grow in the future.
If you already grow basil then the look of this bush is probably familiar. This was a volunteer, which means a seed was left behind that took root. Notice to the right I have another bush; they both need to be clipped for drying.
Clipping to Dry
When to clip basil depends on the gardener. I’ve read where some thing if you wait for the plant to flower and go to seed it will taste bitter.
I haven’t run into this, I’m a believer that what you put into the soil is what benefits the flavor of what we grow to eat.
Since I haven’t experienced bitter tasting basil, I harvest fresh basil from spring to fall. Keeping the plant from going to seed can be difficult so I do my best to cut stems from the base.
Basil grows fast; when a tip goes to bloom I normally just leave it alone.
When I clip to dry I cut the plant right at the base. If the season is ending and we’re approaching that first frost I will actually pull the whole plant from the ground.
- The next step is to wash and damp dry before prepping to air dry.
- I gather and bunch the stems together tying off with a string.
- Let it hang for about a week indoors.
Remember basil is an annual, this means it will turn brown and die when the first frost or freeze arrives.
Harvesting the Seeds
The seeds are tiny, notice little white specks inside the green husk. This is where the flower bloomed and now the seed is maturing waiting to be harvested.
Don’t let the stem go completely brown, those seeds will fall into your soil and come up as volunteers the following season. This can be a neat surprise but can also add a little chaos to your planting space.
One you gather all the seeds let them air dry before storing. I store seeds in envelopes inside a wooden box.
Basil seeds are a bit tedious to gather. You’ll need a set of patience and don’t get discouraged if you’re not able to gather every single seed.