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How do you cut basil leaves?

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How do you cut basil leaves?

Post  NHGardener on 5/31/2014, 5:39 pm

This is an extreme newbie basil question. I have two beautiful basil plants about 10" high (thank you grocery store random plant sales) and I want to start clipping leaves to freeze for pesto later. So do I just cut the leaves off, or do I lop off the whole stem?

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Re: How do you cut basil leaves?

Post  camprn on 5/31/2014, 6:11 pm

@NHGardener wrote:This is an extreme newbie basil question. I have two beautiful basil plants about 10" high (thank you grocery store random plant sales) and I want to start clipping leaves to freeze for pesto later. So do I just cut the leaves off, or do I lop off the whole stem?
I made a post about this last year. let me see if I can find it.

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Re: How do you cut basil leaves?

Post  camprn on 5/31/2014, 6:24 pm


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Re: How do you cut basil leaves?

Post  NHGardener on 5/31/2014, 7:18 pm

Oh, nice camprn! Great tutorial with great pictures! Thank you!

Now I have to go look for those new leaves. I'll be referring to your photos a lot.

Edit: Ooh, that was beautiful. The aroma on those is amazing. Can't wait to watch it re-grow.

After mastering this spice I want to start others, one at a time. I want to keep them in pots and move them in for the winter, I guess under fluorescent lighting if that's what it takes to keep them alive...

Oh, and also try drying. That's probably better than freezing.

Basil is amazing.

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no, freezing is the best for flavor

Post  kauairosina on 6/1/2014, 12:37 am

I like to make a pesto like concoction. You can grind the basil leaves in your blender or food processor, add some oil and you have the basis for lots of good stuff all year long.  If you do dry you might want to freeze your dry leaves for better flavor long term.

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Re: How do you cut basil leaves?

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/1/2014, 12:53 am

The flavor of dried basil is amazingly different from that of fresh basil, and not at all in a good way. It's not terrible, but it's quite different, and it definitely isn't magical anymore. Basil is a fairly delicate herb and loses its flavor and effect quickly. I've learned to add it toward the end when making a sauce, for instance.

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Re: How do you cut basil leaves?

Post  NHGardener on 6/1/2014, 3:02 am

The pesto recipe I looked at calls for "2 cups of packed fresh basil leaves" - that's a lot! I don't see how you can go strictly fresh for that, seems like you have to freeze it.

Good to know, all. Thanks.

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Re: How do you cut basil leaves?

Post  camprn on 6/1/2014, 7:56 am

I chop and freeze in ice cube trays most of my summer basil. I do dry a bit of it as well.

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Re: How do you cut basil leaves?

Post  NHGardener on 6/1/2014, 9:24 am

camprn, what's another of your favorite herbs to grow?

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Re: How do you cut basil leaves?

Post  camprn on 6/1/2014, 10:44 am

@NHGardener wrote:camprn, what's another of your favorite herbs to grow?
Currently I am growing basil, chives, sage, tarragon, marjoram, oregano, thyme, cilantro/coriander. I Think that's it.

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Re: How do you cut basil leaves?

Post  cpl100 on 6/1/2014, 8:37 pm

@camprn wrote:
@NHGardener wrote:camprn, what's another of your favorite herbs to grow?
Currently I am growing basil, chives, sage, tarragon, marjoram, oregano, thyme, cilantro/coriander. I Think that's it.
To me, the flavor of marjoram is quite close to oregano (at least the dried versions).  Do you find that significantly different in the fresh?  Wondering why you choose to grow both (or perhaps you have recipes which call specifically for each of them).

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Re: How do you cut basil leaves?

Post  camprn on 6/1/2014, 8:42 pm

@cpl100 wrote:
@camprn wrote:
@NHGardener wrote:camprn, what's another of your favorite herbs to grow?
Currently I am growing basil, chives, sage, tarragon, marjoram, oregano, thyme, cilantro/coriander. I Think that's it.
To me, the flavor of marjoram is quite close to oregano (at least the dried versions).  Do you find that significantly different in the fresh?  Wondering why you choose to grow both (or perhaps you have recipes which call specifically for each of them).
Oregano is more pungent They both came into the garden as hitch hikers with other plants.

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Re: How do you cut basil leaves?

Post  cpl100 on 6/1/2014, 8:53 pm

@camprn wrote:
@cpl100 wrote:
@camprn wrote:
@NHGardener wrote:camprn, what's another of your favorite herbs to grow?
Currently I am growing basil, chives, sage, tarragon, marjoram, oregano, thyme, cilantro/coriander. I Think that's it.
To me, the flavor of marjoram is quite close to oregano (at least the dried versions).  Do you find that significantly different in the fresh?  Wondering why you choose to grow both (or perhaps you have recipes which call specifically for each of them).
Oregano is more pungent They both came into the garden as hitch hikers with other plants.
That is too funny!  Hope I don't get any hitch hikers because I don't think I could identify them.  Except maybe if they were a basil or tomato plant---feel fairly confident on those two only.

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Re: How do you cut basil leaves?

Post  NHGardener on 6/1/2014, 9:24 pm

The only other herb I'm thinking would be really useful right now is probably rosemary. If I see a plant for sale somewhere, I'll probably pick one up.

Maybe parsley too.

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Re: How do you cut basil leaves?

Post  cpl100 on 6/1/2014, 9:38 pm

@NHGardener wrote:The only other herb I'm thinking would be really useful right now is probably rosemary. If I see a plant for sale somewhere, I'll probably pick one up.

Maybe parsley too.
Many of my recipes call for these two so I plant them every year (in pots).  At the end of the season I pick all my rosemary and dry it for use over the winter.  I don't have enough to last all winter but at least it's something!

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Re: How do you cut basil leaves?

Post  camprn on 6/1/2014, 10:15 pm

Oh! I have rosemary too. In a pot.

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for sure plant parsley

Post  kauairosina on 6/2/2014, 2:58 am

I haven't had lots of call for rosemary although we have the plants.  We are fortunate in that our parsley just goes on and on through winter into summer and fall.  I prefer Italian flat leaf though I read that the curley has been found to have good flavor also in spite of opinions that it isn't as strong as Italian.

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Re: How do you cut basil leaves?

Post  herblover on 6/2/2014, 10:04 am

@NHGardener wrote:The pesto recipe I looked at calls for "2 cups of packed fresh basil leaves" - that's a lot! I don't see how you can go strictly fresh for that, seems like you have to freeze it.

Good to know, all. Thanks.

If your basil plants are happy you will have no trouble getting that amount!  I have 4 plants plus a lemon basil and I make enough pesto for me and a friend plus use it all summer. I do both dry and freeze it as well. I pick and dry rosemary all summer so that I have enough for winter. It is not hardy where I live. I also will freeze/dry parsley. I have lots of herbs; chives, oregano, sage, thyme, lemon thyme as well.

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