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Basil Flavor

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Basil Flavor

Post  H_TX_2 on 5/16/2012, 10:26 am

My wife asked if our basil tasted funny the other night. Now that it is in my head I'm not sure if it does or if it is only a mental thing. My basil has not bolted. I did a small harvest a few weeks ago and now the plants are all bigger than before and I am thinking of doing a bigger harvest because my 12 basil plants are getting rather large.

This morning I pinched off this bud.

Is there anything else that could change the flavor of basil? Since it has not bolted yet and all buds have been pinched off the flavor should be normal.

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  walshevak on 5/16/2012, 12:24 pm

That looks like the start of a flower bud. I understand basil does change flavor when it flowers, but I'm not a gourmet of basil and still like it - even flowering.

However, I also chop off all the flower buds to keep it from going to seed.

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  camprn on 5/16/2012, 4:29 pm

Now that you have pinched off the growing end where the flowers were developing the plant will really bush out. I harvested from my plants at least 3 x last season. I was giving basil away.
As to the flavor being 'funny', there are different varieties of basil that will taste slightly different. Do you have any idea what variety you planted?

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  kbb964 on 5/16/2012, 4:52 pm

I did the same , pinched off the flowers and tripled the harvest. Ended up making lots of basil butter and tomato/basil/garlic oil

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  H_TX_2 on 5/16/2012, 5:36 pm

It is genovese basil.

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  javaaddict on 5/16/2012, 6:32 pm

If you let it get to the point where it can grow that big of a flower, it will be bitter. You have to keep ahead of those, you can't even let them start to develop. Sometimes it's really hard to do. Prune them back as agressively as you can.

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  camprn on 5/16/2012, 7:00 pm

Maybe it requires a fine chianti to bring out the full flavor of the basil... Wink

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  MorningSong on 5/19/2012, 4:52 pm

Basil needs to be "misted" in the evening after sundown and harvested in the early morning to ensure it's best flavor.

And never, ever wash it after harvesting by immerging it in water...it loses a lot of its aromatic qualities and will turn black if left in water too long. Best to spray it and let it air dry in the shade as quickly as possible.

I have been growing basil annually for over 25 years, and I have never really noticed a change in flavor/aroma once it starts blooming (or starts trying to bloom).

It could have something to do with the temperature and/or humidity in the air, though, being that the essential oils are volatile as well as water soluble.

I hope this helps....

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  floyd1440 on 5/19/2012, 8:06 pm

This is my first full year at SFGing and my wife LOVES basil and asked me to plant a lot this year so I have a few questions and have read your posts about pinching it off to make it grow bushier and not bolt.

How many plants per square?

How far down the plant is it safe to pich off? Two or three sets of leaves still remaining?

What is the best way to keep basil through out the year? Some have said to dry it and others say to make pesto and freeze it.


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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  camprn on 5/19/2012, 8:18 pm

@floyd1440 wrote:This is my first full year at SFGing and my wife LOVES basil and asked me to plant a lot this year so I have a few questions and have read your posts about pinching it off to make it grow bushier and not bolt.

How many plants per square?

How far down the plant is it safe to pich off? Two or three sets of leaves still remaining?

What is the best way to keep basil through out the year? Some have said to dry it and others say to make pesto and freeze it.

If you are going to pinch it a lot, 4-5 per square. If you are going to let it get bushy then harvest, 2-3 /square. That's what I have done in the past.

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  floyd1440 on 5/19/2012, 9:02 pm

Thanks camprn.

You are constantly helping me out. last year it was late when I planted and I think Mel's bokk said one per square, could be wrong, so I left 18 square for basil. That is 64 plants if I do 4 per square if my calculations are right.

I went with my wife to the store the other day and they were selling basil plants, 9 in a bunch, for $2.99. The manager said that people just by them that way and then take the leaves off when needed, then throw them out.

Purchased one bunch of these and transpanted them in a 4 foot garden box and will put them in the garden tomorrow; they are outside tonight and will plant them tomorrow evenning.

Perhaps I should stop by tomorrow and see if they have any more as dropped by ACE to see their prices for transplants and they are $2.98/plant and only one basil plant per container. Am glad I started mine from seed but not enough.

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  camprn on 5/19/2012, 9:09 pm

It's no trouble at all Floyd, you ask good questions that I usually can answer. Wink

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  MorningSong on 5/20/2012, 5:13 am

For some crazy reason, I never know how to regulate the space basil plants will need because it seems that certain years the basil does really well, getting big enough to even overtake a whole square in circumference and over 2 feet tall, and other years it might remain more compact. Nonetheless, I would advise to put each plant in a square or, at most, 2. If the plants don't get big, I can always find something to stick in the square with it.

Note: Basil grows great near tomatoes!

As for ways of conservation, drying it is a great way to go, but note that the flavor is more peppery when dried. I use dried basil on meats, vegies like eggplant and zucchini, and in soups.

I always put some in the freezer: just put the clean, dry leaves in a freezer bag and freeze. Once they are frozen you can crumble them up if you want it to take up less space. That way, if I want to make pesto during the winter, I practically have "fresh" basil. Note that fresh basil will sometimes turn dark green/almost black when frozen, but that doesn't take away from the great flavor.

I also make pesto and freeze it ready-made. (Pesto made with dried basil just isn't the same to me.)

You can also put it in Olive Oil and use the basil-flavored oil in cooking or on salads.

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  floyd1440 on 5/20/2012, 6:50 am

Hey MorningSong.....

Thanks for advice on how to use and store basil and I will let her check it out as she likes it dried and pesto for sure but never heard of freezing it. Let her decide that and my guess is she will try out each of your ideas and then decide which one she likes.

As for the spacing, I may try a few different plantings styles as you and camprn seem to have slightly different opinions and Mel's book suggests 1 or 4 per square so I can only assume if you constantly cut them back 4 per square would be fine but if you get let it grow and picked leaves off as needed, which I did last year, one per square is plenty.

However here is were my inexperience was my down fall. I never piched back the basil and let it grow a few feet high, picking some leaves, and then it flowered on top. I constantly picked the flowering top off but the basil stopped producing any more leaves so I am not sure if it was due to planting it late of not pinching it off?


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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  mrwes40 on 5/20/2012, 7:02 am

@MorningSong wrote:

You can also put it in Olive Oil and use the basil-flavored oil in cooking or on salads.

Be very careful making herb infused olive oils, certainly a risk for botulism. Botulism is an anaerobic bacteria and thrives in an environment that lacks oxygen. It dies in the presence of oxygen. Botulism is also a spore former, which in essence protects the bacteria and heat does not kill the toxin. Likelihood maybe low, but the severity is high; including death.

Here is a link to the FDA Bad Bug Book where you can read up more on botulism.

Bill

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  camprn on 5/20/2012, 7:17 am

Thanks for the reminder on that Mrwes!

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  floyd1440 on 5/21/2012, 8:30 pm

Any good pesto recipes out there? There was one post that I cannot find of making it them freezing it in ice trays....



:(

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  camprn on 5/21/2012, 8:38 pm

@floyd1440 wrote:Any good pesto recipes out there? There was one post that I cannot find of making it them freezing it in ice trays....
Sad
Pesto thread Very Happy

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  floyd1440 on 5/21/2012, 8:44 pm

Thanks again camprn....I told my wife about this method and reading that basil is tough to store, it seems like one way to enjoy the flavor throughout the winter..


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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  floyd1440 on 5/21/2012, 8:46 pm

I will send some pics tomorrow

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  llama momma on 5/21/2012, 9:04 pm

I cut up my basil last year, put it in ice cube trays with water, when frozen popped them out and kept them in a freezer bag. Used it all winter for sauces, soups, and stew. Still have a few left. Easy and so nice to have garden "fresh" year round.

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  Ha-v-v on 5/22/2012, 7:38 am



Lemon basil on the right, Thai in the middle and boxwood basil .. this is what happens when you dont cut it to use it Smile I only ever plant one per square and now the basils have their own bed because I like more than one flavor Smile
This picture was taking in August of 2010, and I still get the same amount of basil, but just trim it back more aggressively and will be freezing in olive oil this year and drying Smile This next picture was in Sept 2010 (first year sfg) and the tomatoes behind it Smile

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  llama momma on 5/22/2012, 8:06 am

Impressive! A basil forest! Very Happy

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  michellentn on 5/22/2012, 12:40 pm

wow! that is a lot of basil. I have some seedlings growing and started another batch so I can put them between the tomato plants. I also thought about moving my squash plants around the tomato plants as I read somewhere they like each other and the squash, when grown on the ground does fine around the tomato plants. still debating on that. I have marigolds on one side of the tomatoes already. my garden is not sfg because i picked up the book after i had started. but it will be next year!

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Re: Basil Flavor

Post  floyd1440 on 5/22/2012, 7:11 pm

I just put them in and hope they grow quickly....A total of 26 plants but not as much as the previous picture!!!








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Re: Basil Flavor

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