Keeping basil fresh is quite simple and an excellent way to make the most of the extra supply from your garden. I’ll guide you step by step on how to store basil for future use.
Basil is a wonderful summer plant, but you can keep it for the winter. You can retain its fresh taste all year round using the right techniques.
There are numerous simple methods to keep basil, either for a short or long time, without needing any special tools or preparation.
I’ve tried many ways to keep basil fresh and ready for later use. Now, I’d like to share these methods with you.
How to Maintain Basil’s Freshness
Basil only stays fresh for a short time. It’s best to use it within a few days. You can apply some methods to make it last as long as possible.
Remember, don’t wash basil before storing it fresh. If you’ve already washed it, dry the leaves completely as soon as possible, or they’ll start to turn brown.
How to Store Basil leaves in the fridge?
If you wish to put basil in the fridge, ensure the leaves are entirely dry. Wet leaves will turn brown quickly. Also, don’t wrap them in plastic, as the moisture will make them brown, black, or spotty.
Store the leaves like you would store salad greens. Put them loosely in a container, and then put them in the fridge.
However, the refrigerator isn’t the best place for basil. If you wish to keep it for a few days, place it in a water-filled vase on the counter.
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How to Store Basil in Water?
The ideal way to keep basil fresh for a short time is to place the stems in a water-filled vase at room temperature.
First, take off the lower leaves, and use them first. If any leaves touch the water, they’ll quickly turn black.
Leave it uncovered, and place it in a bright spot with indirect light, away from heat.
Treat it like a bouquet. Change the water every few days, and trim the bottom of the stems if they become slimy.
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Preserving and Storing fresh Basil
If you’re not planning to consume your basil within a few days, you’ll need to use one of the long-term storage methods mentioned below.
One common way to keep basil is by drying it. You can use a dehydrator, a warm oven, or a microwave, or just spread them on a herb-drying rack. Crush or grind them, then store them in a spice jar for your kitchen.
As mentioned earlier, dried leaves don’t hold their flavor as well as frozen ones. Yet, they still bring a nice flavor and smell to your dishes.
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The simplest way to store basil for a long time is to freeze it. You don’t even need to chop them first. Once frozen, they turn very fragile, and you can easily break them right in the storage bag.
Basil freezes well and doesn’t require much preparation. Just put the leaves into storage bags, and toss them into the freezer. Just ensure your basil is dry before storing it to avoid clumping.
You can also freeze individual leaves on a cookie sheet for 10-20 minutes before bagging them. This way, they won’t stick together.
Or, if you prefer, you can use an herb freezer tray or mini ice cube trays.
You can also prepare homemade basil pesto and freeze it for future use. Just mix all your favorite ingredients until smooth.
Pesto as well as the leaves and can be frozen in herb trays or a mini ice tray for convenient cooking portions.
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Storing Basil in oil
Another great method is storing basil in oil. Just chop up the leaves, fill your trays, then pour olive oil on top to cover the leaves. Finally, put the trays in the freezer.
When they’re fully frozen, remove them from the trays and store them in a freezer-safe bag.
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How long can Basil last?
If stored correctly, fresh basil can stay good for up to 10 days. But if you preserve it, it can last a lot longer.
Remember that even though preserved basil doesn’t spoil, its taste will fade with time. So, it’s a good idea to use it within a year, no matter how you store it.
Does Stored Basil go bad?
Fresh basil doesn’t exactly go bad, but it can rot or grow mold if you don’t keep it properly. On the other hand, if preserved well, it can last quite long.
However, it’s best to use stored basil within a few months and replace your supply with fresh basil from your garden yearly.
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Is Freezing or Drying Basil Better?
Both ways have their benefits and drawbacks, depending on your preference. Frozen basil retains its taste better than dried.
With so many ways to store it, it’s worth saving basil for use during winter.
Trust me, you’ll want to enjoy its wonderful flavor, as there’s nothing quite like it. By saving basil, you can enjoy a bit of your summer garden even during the coldest time of the year.