SLC
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Are dill and basil leaves still good if they flower?

I wanted to use the basil in cooking, but I just got back from vacation and it has tons of flowers on it. Are the leaves still good to use in cooking or will they taste bitter or are they bad now?

I wanted to use the dill to make pickles, but the dill has started to flower and my cucumbers are just starting. Can I still use the dill leaves in my pickle jars or will it not taste right?

Any advice is much appreciated!

imafan26
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Re: Are dill and basil leaves still good if they flower?

You can still use the leaves, but basil may become more bitter after they flower. Flowering also means the basil will be nearing the end of its' life cycle. On the bright side, the flowers are edible too. The flowers also atttract beneficial insects. Hover flies, parasitic wasps, and honey bees visit them for nectar.
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SLC
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Re: Are dill and basil leaves still good if they flower?

imafan26 wrote:You can still use the leaves, but basil may become more bitter after they flower. Flowering also means the basil will be nearing the end of its' life cycle. On the bright side, the flowers are edible too. The flowers also atttract beneficial insects. Hover flies, parasitic wasps, and honey bees visit them for nectar.
Thanks!

How about the dill?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Are dill and basil leaves still good if they flower?

That I can tell, the dill doesn't change flavor when it flowers, though it elongates and doesn't have as much leaves.

You can still cut all the flower spikes off the basil, down to the next leaf node and prolong its life.
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applestar
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Re: Are dill and basil leaves still good if they flower?

I put dill flowerheads while still blooming as well as after they've started forming seeds in the picke jar -- at least one per jar depending on size when I have plenty.
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jal_ut
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Re: Are dill and basil leaves still good if they flower?

Dill: The whole plant has the dilly flavor and aroma. Just clip the whole thing and dry it. You can put any part of the plant in the jar of pickles for flavor and aroma...... from the stem to the seeds.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

veggiedan
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Re: Are dill and basil leaves still good if they flower?

My experience, from growing basil in a climate with hot summers for many years, is that when basil bolts -- that is, puts out flower buds, you can pick those buds off for several weeks (and they come fast!) without any effect on the flavor of the leaves. I've never let a plant go into full bloom, but I have missed picking off an occasional bud, and having that bud bloom. No noticeable effect.

At that point, I figure it's getting to be pesto time, and I eventually pull the plants.

But I just ran into an expert gardener who swears that once basil starts bolting, you just hack of the top third (and make it into pesto, I guess), leaving the bottom two third of the plants in the ground. The plants will continue leafing and growing without flowering for another month or two, he says. So their life cycle isn't done when they first bolt. I intend to try that next year.

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