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Need fresh basil

  • t

Is there fresh basil out there somewehere now? Where?(If relevant, I am in NYC) general guidance is ok..

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  1. Most of the commercial stuff is grown in greenhouses these days so it's no longer particularly seasonal. It should be pretty much everywhere including pseudo-upscale grocery stores like Food Emporium, etc. Corner veggie/salad bar convenience stores may not have it but a lot of those places do.

    NYC is pretty big, so if you want a specific mention, tell use where you are. ;)

    6 Replies
    1. re: MikeG

      Anywhere in NYC is fine...you know that everything is just a train ride away...don't ya?

      1. re: trey

        And you know that you can get basil in just about any Korean grocery...don't ya?

        1. re: Eric P.

          Yes, after 28 years of riding the trains by myself (and with my parents before I was around 12), I'm more than familiar with the NYC subway system. But why on earth would I travel to get something that's ubiquitous in all but the poorest neighborhoods in the city?

          I'll spend an hour on the train roundtrip to get better Parmigiano than what's available in my neighborhood (and you can get pretty Parm here on the lower UWS) but for basil during the Winter? Why? It's all the same tough-leaved, menthol-y stuff grown in greenhouses.

          But if you really want specifics, OK, lessee. In my neighborhood: Citarella's, Fairway, Zabar's, Westside market, Food Emporium, Pioneer, Gristedes, the Korean grocery on Columbus and 73rd, the one on 71st, the Korean fruit market on Broadway a block below Zabar's, Whole Foods, the Korean grocery on 8th Ave. and 51st St., the supermarket just east of Broadway on 57th St. I could go on, but if I go outside my neighborhood I'll get carpal tunnel before I've made even minor headway into the list....

          1. re: MikeG

            lessee, huh? LOL! but most of your suggestions is just a stone's throw away and not by train...go figure! And yes, I would go tho the South of Bronx for this if I had to because I need it that badly, hence the train ride comment. Are you that humorless or just sensitive?

          2. re: Eric P.

            nope-di-dope, zat's why I am asking..

        2. re: MikeG
          e
          Eldon Kreider

          Unfortunately, basil needs both strong light and warm temperatures to develop full flavor intensity. Greenhouse basil to me is too much like greenhouse tomatoes--cosmetics great but lacking flavor. Availability isn't seasonal, but quality is. Too many supermarkets duck the quality issue by never carrying the good stuff.

        3. Fairway just about always has.

          3 Replies
          1. re: rudylee

            Thank you but you lnow that Fairway's produce is more often times than not, very bruised...any other suggestions?

            1. re: trey

              Nonsense. I've been shopping in Fairway 3-5 times a week for the past 14 years and their produce is in no worse shape than any produce market I've been in in the city (and where food is concerned, I do get around.)

              1. re: MikeG

                Well I acknowledge what you've said BUT I beg to differ. The one place where you can get much much better produce is Integral Yoga on 14th street. beats fairway everytime. even whole foods on some days, if not most, has better produce than fairway. just my opinion...

          2. Trader Joe's has it.

            1. seems like you'll find it, as people have been saying, in most well-stocked places. whole foods is a good bet. fresh basil isn't really a specialty item...

              1. j
                Jane Hathaway

                Much to my surprise, I just bought some of the best basil I've ever seen at Whole Foods a few minutes ago. I'm in the Bay Area so I don't know if your local Whole Foods has some of similar quality now or not. It's always hit or miss for me. Good luck.

                1. While we're on the subject, does anyone have any hints to make fresh basil last more than a day?

                  My basil sources are pretty fresh -- either from the neighborhood produce mart, where the dirt is still on the roots, or my pal, who grows it in a big planter.

                  I've tried wrapping carefully in plastic then storing in the fridge, sitting the stems and roots in a water-filled container like flowers, even washing leaves carefully and storing between paper towels. Never lasts more than a couple days. Seems like any dampness kills it.

                  P.S. Yes, I've tried to grow it myself to have a constant source, but the plant always dies. I keep telling myself the plant dies seasonally so I don't have to face the fact that I am just a horrible gardener.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Pupster

                    Try this: arrange like a posy, slice a bit off the bottom, set in a glass of water, wrap a layer of paper toweling (to absorb moisture) around the leaves and cover with a plastic bag, stick in the fridge. Change the water every other day or whenever you see it getting cloudy/dark. It still won't last more than oh, 4-5 days, but that'll double your current time. Good luck.

                    1. re: Kimm

                      There was a discussion about this on the General Topics board last summer. Someone suggested storing your basil like fresh flowers--trim the ends, put the bunch in a glass of water, and store on the countertop, not in the fridge. It works great--I even had a supermarket bunch of basil start to grow roots in the glass, and then live, transferred to a pot, for months.

                      If you think about it, it makes sense--why should 40 degrees be better for a plant than 70 degrees?

                      1. re: Sarah W-R

                        I do that too, in the summer. The reason I suggested refrigerating it was because the poster said that the fresh flower method didn't work for him. I find refrigeration works out better for parsley and cilantro. No idea why.

                        1. re: Kimm

                          Ooops, did not read that part in the first post. Thank you for a very polite correction.

                          Interesting that some herbs last better in the fridge.

                          1. re: Sarah W-R

                            No prob, Sarah!

                            Perhaps it has something to do with refrigeration slowing down decomposition of things that don't manage to grow new roots in water? Florists keep some flowers in the fridge too, I think.