The Q&A Archives: Herb picking

Question: I have Basil and rosemary growing outside. At what point can I start to clip them to use? Do I let them dry out or can I use fresh? Need to know for both herbs. Thank you.

Answer: You can harvest your herbs as soon as the plants have several stems and leaves. With both all you need to do is clip a stem containing leaves. Each plant will respond by sending up new stems and leaves. I try not to take more than one stem for every 3 stems on the plant. This way each plant will have enough leaves to manufacture energy for the roots of the plant. In the case of basil you can simply cut the stem below a cluster of leaves. With rosemary you can cut off an entire stem. I use my herbs fresh by harvesting just before I'm going to use them. You can dry the rosemary by laying the stems on a papertowel and then stripping the leaves off the stem when they are dry. I don't think basil dries very well or tastes very good when the leaves are dry so I like to use basil fresh.

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