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Basil Blossoms

  • diablo Jul 26, 2008 05:20 PM
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My basil has blossomed. I plan to make pesto with the majority of the plant, but wondered if there are any ways to use the blossom besides garnish.

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  1. You seem to be implying that the basil plant's life cycle is over when it blossoms.
    Far from it. If you pluck the blossoms, it sends a signal to the plant to produce more foliage, which is want you want. Attentive de-blossoming and that basil plant could last a long time.

    P. S.: The flowers don't taste good.

    9 Replies
    1. re: maria lorraine

      Thanks for the tip Maria!!! I just went out and de-blossomed my basil crop, probably have 50-60 nice plants in the herb garden.

      1. re: maria lorraine

        Yes, they do. I grow globe basil and Thai basil, and use the blossoms all the time, in salads, pasta, for marinades. If they're large blossoms, I'd chop them up a bit, but otherwise use them as a garnish. You also can pick the stems and make a kitchen bouquet -- a nice little fragrance.

        1. re: brendastarlet

          brendastarlet (very nice Chowhound name), your basil blossoms must be tastier than mine. Mine taste pithy and, well, like nothing. I toss 'em on the weed pile.

          1. re: maria lorraine

            It might be the variety that I am growing, because mine taste a little nutty and add a nice texture. The traditional Italian basil may not taste the same.

          2. re: brendastarlet

            Thanks for the tip to make kitchen bouquet. We love the smell of basil. I have some mesh bags that will work wonderfully. Through the winter, we can squeeze the bags & enjoy.

            Margaret31

          3. re: maria lorraine

            Huh. I had no idea. I'm going to deblossom right now. Too bad the flowers don't taste good. They are pretty as garnish, though. Thanks so much for the info! Very, very good to know!

            1. re: diablo

              I just wanted to update. I deblossomed on the date of this last post and lopped off the top leaves at the node (the stem part of the plant where you see two small new leaves coming in) to make pesto. The regrowth since then was enough that I couldn't even tell where I had cut a few days ago when I used the same plant for Ensalada Caprese tonight. Thanks again maria lorraine. You rock!

              1. re: diablo

                Thank you. I have my good moments. Thanks for the growth report.

                1. re: diablo

                  thanks, diablo, it's always nice when someone comes back for a thank you on a tip!

            2. Yes, definitely pluck the blossoms so that your plant continues to push out new leaves. I take the giant mass of blossoms, just barely cover with olive oil, warm up on stove top so that oil is warm, but no where near simmer/bubble. Taste about every 10 minutes with a dip of bread (or spoon oil onto bread). When you are getting a good basil flavor, let cool, strain and enjoy as a lovely dip for bread and veggies. Refrigerate leftovers, bring to room temp to get liquid for next round.

              2 Replies
              1. re: torty

                that's probably the best idea -- get the flavor, and you don't have to deal with the woody texture.

                1. re: torty

                  This is such a good idea! Wish I'd read it befor I topped all of my basil plants two days ago!

                2. I use the basil petals (not the green part at the bottom), and find they have a pleasant mild basil fragrance. Great with egg dishes, although my favourite has to be rosemary blossoms. Especially the blue ones. So pretty...

                  1. Hi -

                    Sorry for the interruption, but we've removed some gardening tips that are beyond the scope of Chowhound. Please help us keep things on-topic by focusing on how the OP can use basil blossoms in recipes.

                    Thanks!

                    1. I was trying to keep up with trimming my basil blossoms for a while but they are growing way faster than I can keep up with them! So I'm wondering if maybe I won't just let the plants go to seed and then experiment with making basil seed drink: http://www.google.com/search?q=basil+...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: AlizaEss

                        you will limit your leaf production and the new tender leaves are the best.

                      2. As a general rule, for foliage herbs (that is, when you primarily want the leaves), you should always de-flower assiduously before bloom, as the leaves often become less balanced in flavor after bloom.