How to Store Fresh Basil

Basil is a strong herb that’s famous for dishes in Europe, specifically Italy. While not everyone may like their strong smell, the taste of basil is pure bliss. Basil is also known as a medicinal herb and is used to cure many diseases alongside other medicines.

Keeping the basil fresh for a long time is not easy, as it quickly wilts or discolors. If you are looking for ways to store fresh basil, you are at the right place. You will get a complete guide on storing the fresh basil.

Keep on reading if you want to preserve the basil with its fragrance and properties for as long as possible.

How Many Types of Basil Are There?

Basil is a healthy and hearty herb with a lot of benefits, apart from its taste and unique flavor. Basil is high in vitamins and antioxidants and provides nutrients to your body.

But, before you buy it and store it, you’ll want to know what type of basil you’re getting. Like Thyme, different strains distribute different flavors.

There are over 150 species of basil. Here are some of the most popular:

  1. Sweet Basil
  2. Purple Basil
  3. Spicy Saber Basil
  4. Lemon Basil
  5. Licorice Basil

It doesn’t matter which type of basil you get. It all stores the same way. Now, let’s get into how you can properly store basil to keep it fresh and on hand.

How To Properly Store Fresh Basil

Storing basil requires a little bit of work, but it’s well worth it. Here are a few different options to keep your basil fresh and preserve its flavor.

Store Fresh Basil In A Pot

This first method is ideal if you’re storing an entire basil plant (i.e. it’s in a pot).

You may have observed that your basil quickly withers when you bring it home from the store or garden. This is because they are planted in small pots that cannot provide enough nutrition to the whole basil plant.

When you bring your basil plant home from the market, follow these steps to make it fresh.

  • Immediately replant it in a larger pot.
  • Change the soil for better nutrition.
  • Place a layer of gravel at the bottom of the pot.
  • Keep the pot in a sunny and ventilated place.

Regularly water the plant and remove the dry leaves falling in the pot. This method allows you to have fresh basil in your home anytime you want.

Store Fresh Basil by Water Method

Another simple method to keep the basil fresh for a long time is to store it in water. This may take a little time, but basil will last longer in the water. Just follow the procedure and preserve your basil.

  • Wash and then trim the ends of basil.
  • Fill a jug or jar with the fresh and cold water.
  • Place the basil in a vertical position in the jug.
  • Then cover the leaves with a plastic bag (you can use the ones from the grocery store).
  • Keep the jug in the fridge, preferably on the side door if you have one. Avoid putting it in the coldest part of your fridge, like the back.

Though this method can take a fair space inside your fridge, it can also keep the basil fresh for a long time.

Store Fresh Basil in the Freezer

A freezer seems to be the most convenient option for the storage of fruits or vegetables. There are different methods available for storing fresh basil in the freezer. The easiest method involves the following steps.

  • Take off the leaves from the stem
  • Wash the healthy with water
  • Place the leaves on a paper towel or clean kitchen towel
  • Then roll the towel covering the leaves
  • Put all the rolls in a plastic bag
  • Vacuum seal the bag with Annova Vacuum Sealer

Then place the bags in the freezer. Vacuum sealing will ensure the removal of air or moisture to increase the shelf life of fresh basil leaves. You can use these basil leaves within 2-3 weeks.

Freeze the Basil Leaves by Blanching

Don’t get confused by the word blanching. Blanching is just boiling and then cooling to preserve the fresh green color of basil. If you don’t blanch, basil will turn brown upon freezing.

Follow these simple steps to store the fresh basil leaves.

  • First, blanch the healthy leaves with boiling water for 2-5 seconds
  • Then dip the boiled leaves in the ice-cold water for an ice bath
  • Dry the leaves with a paper towel to prevent the freezing or icing of leaves
  • Then store the whole dry leaves in the food storage container

Place the container in the freezer, and the basil will be fresh and ready to cook for months. If you make a puree of the basil leaves with olive oil and freeze them in the ice cubes, they can be fresh for 6 months.

How Long Can Fresh Basil Be Stored?

How long can basil be stored depends on the type of method you choose.  Keep the fresh basil leaves in the refrigerator, as it will keep them fresh for few days.

Freezing the basil leaves can increase their shelf life to six months. While dried basil can go long for the years. Potted basil is the best option, as it doesn’t need much maintenance and care.

  • The potted basil plant will last longer for 3-4 months.
  • Fresh basil leaves with a paper towel can be fresh for 3-5 days.
  • Basil leaves in the form of ice cubes can last long for six months.
  • Dry basil leaves can also be stored for 6 months to one year.

How To Tell If Fresh Basil Have Gone Bad

You can clearly observe the basil that has gone bad. If you observe any of the following symptoms, then damp the basil in the trash. These signs include:

  • Wrinkled or withered leaf with no firmness
  • Visible discoloration includes back or brown color
  • The moist or slimy texture
  • A rotten or pungent smell

If you notice that your basil has one of these signs, it’s time to throw it away. Not only will it taste off, but you may also get exposed to unhealthy bacteria.

Mistakes To Avoid When Storing Fresh Basil

Different methods are available for storing fresh basil leaves. You should store basil in the proper conditions otherwise, common mistakes can make your storage a waste of time.

  • Never freeze the untreated basil leaves in the plastic bags. First, blanch them and then freeze. Replant the potted basil plant bought from the market. Make a puree of basil with olive oil for making cubes.
  • Olive oil will increase the shelf life of basil leaves.
  • Store the fresh basil leaves in the water, not in the fridge. Water will retain the texture, aroma, and appearance of fresh leaves.
  • Choose the right type of basil according to your taste and flavor. Regardless of any method, choose the healthy herb with lush green color.

You can use any of the above-mentioned methods depending on your needs and feasibility. But follow the guidelines to keep the basil fresh and safe to eat.