At a recent preserving workshop I was asked “What’s the best way to store fresh basil?”
Great question! Here are two ways to keep fresh, cut basil lasting as long as possible. Of course, you could also dry it, freeze it (advice from Professional Home Economist Mairlyn Smith) or turn it into pesto – but for now, here’s how to keep it in it’s fresh, cut state.
The Fresh Bouquet Technique
Treat your basil like you would a fresh bouquet of flowers!
Strip leaves off the bottom of the stems and place basil in a jar or vase of water. Display lovingly on your counter or dining room table – preferably somewhere that will encourage/remind you to use it!
Basil does not like cold temperatures, so it’s best to keep this bouquet out of the fridge.
Change and add water every couple of days.
Wash leaves when you’re ready to use them, not before.
Your basil bouquet will last one to two weeks.
The Baggie in the Fridge Technique
Another option to keep your basil looking and tasting fresh for 1 to 2 weeks is to store the leaves wrapped in paper towel tucked in a baggie in the fridge.
For this technique, wash the basil gently and dry it as much as possible using a salad spinner or dabbing it with a towel.
Wrap the dry basil leaves in paper towel and place inside a plastic bag.
This works remarkably well, but out of sight may mean out of mind – don’t forget to use your fresh basil!
The Fancy Container
If you bought your basil in one of those plastic trays with a liner – keep your basil in that! Those containers are designed to keep your basil as fresh as possible for as long as possible.
If you simply have no luck keeping fresh basil fresh then go ahead and freeze or dry whatever you don’t use right away. It’s easy and you’ll get to enjoy that great basil flavor!
Here are links to the how to’s on freezing, drying and making pesto with basil.
How to Freeze Basil – (link to Mairlyn Smith)
Want to learn more? How about a preserving workshop with Getty? Call today as fall dates are booking quickly. Getty Stewart is an engaging speaker and writer providing tasty recipes, time-saving tips, and helpful kitchen ideas to make home cooking easy and enjoyable. She is a Professional Home Economist, author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, mom and veggie gardener.