My cinnamon basil now has about as many blooms as it does leaves. (Yes, I should have harvested it before it bloomed, but there’s not a lot I can do about it now!) Can I put the blooms and bracts in what I dry for tea, or will they negatively affect the taste?
I grow quite a few different basils for use in the kitchen and in teas. Once any kind of basil starts to go to flower, the plant puts its energy into the flowerhead because it will produce future seeds that will soon develop rather than growing more leaves. (It’s the reproductive stage of the plant – a bit like being pregnant – the body functions change!)
It’s not too late to snip all the flower heads off though – well below where they are forming (you can be quite savage with the secateurs!) The plant will then grow more leaves so you can keep making your tea infusions!
The flowers are edible and likely have a milder taste than the leaves so they are fine to add to your brew! Basil tea is a herbal remedy for calming the nerves and tension so it’s good for stress relief, especially if you add a little honey. There are lots of other herb teas that are great for health too. You can find some tips for brewing herb teas here if you’re interested.
It would be a pity not to allow your cinnamon basil to bloom… It’s one of the prettiest basil while flowering – in my opinion: those beautiful pink flowerheads!
I always grow several plants, and I always allow at least a few of them to bloom. After all, the plant uses more energy ‘from flower to ripe seed’ than ‘from bud to flower’. So I allow some plants to flowers, and only remove the flowers when they start withering.