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Should You Chop Basil

Should You Chop Basil

Most recipes tell you (1) to add the basil earlier in the cooking process, while adding the other herbs and spices, and (2) tell you to chop the basil. To avoid losing flavour, you want to add basil later in the cooking process than you do with most other herbs. Because fresh basil loses all its flavor if you allow it to simmer in a sauce for too long, wait until right before serving the dish you are making to stir it in. While dried basil takes time to absorb the liquid and releases its flavors, fresh basil leaves will just wilt and lose its potency if cooked too long.

Basil is known for its intense flavor; however, this aroma may fade relatively quickly when you are cooking the herb. Whether you are picking Basil in pots or in your garden, Basil will keep you satisfied as long as you only chop up the youngest leaves. If you need it for just a few days, fresh basil can be stored upright in a container of water in your fridge, just like a bouquet of flowers.

Basil leaves last longer when jars are covered in plastic bags and stored in the fridge. You can also put the basil in a tight-fitting plastic bag in the refrigerator, or store the leaves in a jar covered with olive oil. You can also tear or roughly chop basil leaves, put in ice-cube trays, and cover them with water, then freeze them, then store the same way. Trim leaves off bottom of stems, then put the basil into a glass of water, just as you would flowers.

IngredientsAmount
Olive Oil17%
Basil1 tsp
Tomatoes4-6 cups
Olives1-2 protions
Amount of ingredients found in Mediterranean diet.

Gently pull the basil leaves from the stems, and then cut into smaller pieces using your fingers while spreading it out. Layer the basil leaves, with stems removed, with larger leaves at the bottom and smaller leaves at the top. Cut off the stalks of the basil plants, but keep two or four leaves on each stalk to allow the plants to keep growing.

Pinch DUBLE the harvest of your basil, turning a plant with one stem into one with double ones. When you clip the basil stems back down to the new leaf sets, you are forcing these leaves to grow, which will double the amount of basil produced from that stem. To clip basil to harvest or to encourage growth, you can use your fingers, hand pruning tools, or snippets.

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I frequently use my fingers for pinching off blossom buds or cutting off the tops of basil stems, but you might want sharp pruning tools if you are cutting a plant hard, since you do not want to break off the stalk. Hand-pinching the buds or flowers off Greek basil plants takes some time, so I cheat a little bit, using my mini-herb scissors, or even garden shears. Use the cuttings when you need the basil for a recipe, or are pruning the plants for optimal growth.

Tearing basil by hand (as opposed to using a knife) helps to slow down the oxidation, since the tearing tends to leave more cell walls intact than cutting does. Tearing basil (as with any herb) does indeed bruise it, which is important, since natural essential oils and flavors are best released through the ragged tears, rather than through a sliced (essentially crushed) surface. If you work with basil or mint often, you might notice that they will become bruised and browned when ragged.

Make sure you are pruning basil from just above, never cutting down to the base of the stem to just below ground level. When you trim your basil from the top, like shown above, you encourage branches to spread outwards. Do not worry too much about making your sprigs extra tightly, but you do want them to be tightly packed so that they stay together easily as you cut through your basil leaves. Rolling your basil gives you something thicker to slice, which makes your knife so much better at doing it, even when the leaves are moist.

watch this video to know How to CHOP BASIL

Ideally, you will want to begin cutting basil in the beginning of the season, when the plant is around 6-inches high, or has at least 6 leaves. As with pruning, you should take your basil periodically to help promote new, replacement leaves. The best way to maximize your basil yield is to make it a habit of trimming.

When a recipe calls for fresh basil, you will often hear chefs say tear it up with your fingers instead of shredding it with a knife in order to achieve the best flavour. If you are substituting fresh basil for dried, adding it too early is just one possible mistake–not using it enough is another. The entire leaf will shrink slightly, but all of the flavor is preserved, so do not use nearly as much frozen basil as your recipe calls for fresh.

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If you are planning on using the basil/oil cubes in hot dishes, just throw your frozen basil right into the pan. Then simply keep your basil on your countertop, out of direct sunlight, to create a flavorful, beautiful bouquet ready to go anytime you need to add a leaf to a dish. It is best to avoid mixing the basil leaves with vinegar; instead, combine basil leaves with olive oil, lemon, tomatoes, or olives, the classic ingredients in Mediterranean cooking.

Heres how to chop fresh basil into beautiful chiffonades, thin strips of the herb that you see scattered over pizzas margaritas, caprese salads, and on fresh sandwiches. We make pesto, chop up leaves for sprinkled on pasta and pizza, throw them in green salads, and incorporate citrusy basil, such as lemon basil, into fruit salads.

First, I harvest basil stems, trimming down to a bunch of side stems (that way, in the weeks that follow, I have MORE basil). You can pull off only a few stalks to spruce up dinner, or trim the plant back a third to harvest enough basil for pesto or to preserve. The flavor of basil changes when dried into what some people like to compare as being closer to mint.

How do you trim basil without killing it?

Cut the main stem about 14 inches above the point where the leaves are emerging. Snip from various portions of the plant to stimulate branching all the way around, but don’t remove more than a third of the height at once. Continue to prune your basil in the same manner as it continues to produce new growth.

How to chop fresh basil leaves?

Basil is a very popular herb that is used in many different cuisines around the world. It has a very strong flavor, so it is often used sparingly. When chopping fresh basil leaves, it is important to use a sharp knife. Start by cutting the leaves into thin strips, then chop them into smaller pieces.

How to use fresh basil in pasta?

Here are a few tips on how to use fresh basil in pasta:

  • Add a handful of basil leaves to your pasta sauce for added flavor.
  • Chop up some basil and sprinkle it on top of your pasta dish before serving.
  • Make a pesto sauce by blending basil leaves, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and nuts in a food processor.