Harvesting Herbs

Harvesting herbs is very enjoyable. The herb fragrance fills the air. No matter what else is going on in your life, harvesting herbs is relaxing and enjoyable.

When to Harvest Herbs

The best time to harvest a herb depends on the part of the plant that you are havesting and what you plan on doing with it.

If you are harvesting the leaves of the herb, the best time to harvest is before the herb flowers. Some herbs (like chives) are very beautiful when allowed to flower, but flowering changes the flavor.

If you are harvesting the flowers of the herb (like chamomile or borage) harvest just before full-flower. Herb flowers essential oils are most abundant just before they flower - so harvest flowers after flower buds appear but before they open.

Herb roots (like bloodroot, chicory and ginseng,) should be harvested in the fall after the leaves start fading.

Tarragon or lavender flowers can be sheared to about half their height in early summer to encourage a second flowering in the fall.

The Best Time Of Day To Harvest Herbs

Harvest herbs in the morning after the dew is gone, but before the day gets too hot. The essential oils are most abundant in the morning so your herbs will have more flavor if you harvest early.

How To Harvest Your Herbs

I use scissors. You may use shears or a sharp knife. Make a clean cut just below a node. Node will look like a small bump. They are the parts of the plant that produces new growth.

Do not tear at leaves or leave jagged edges. That is an invitation to diseases.

Should You Wash Your Herbs?

Some people immerse their herbs in a sink of tepid water. Then lay them on paper towels and gently blot them. If I can, I prefer to mist them the day before and do not wash them in the sink after I have harvested them.

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