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Best way to keep fresh basil?

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  1. Out of the fridge. I tried all manner in the fridge, wrapped in paper towel, in breathable container. Nope, they would all turn BLACK! Bleh!! Out side of the fridge, it lasts me much longer...


    1. With the newly cut stems in water in a vase-like jar or glass covered with an inverted plastic bag at cool room temperature and away from direct sunlight.

      5 Replies
      1. re: carswell

        Thats what I do as well. It works alot better. Mint I find harder to keep.

        1. re: Becca Porter

          I rinse my mint stalks and seal them in a tupperware thing and they last in the fridge for weeks.

        2. re: carswell

          Sorry to be dense - I have this trouble with basil too - do you put the bag over top of the leaves or around the stems in the water?

          1. re: krissywats

            The bag goes over the jar/glass in which you've placed the basil. The basil's stems sit in the water.

            By maintaining high humidity, the bag keeps the leaves from wilting, from transpiring water faster than it can be absorbed through the stems. You should cut the stems a half inch or so from the bottom just before putting them in water since that makes it easier for them to take up water. If possible, cut them with garden shears instead of a knife, as knives tend to crush the stems, which also reduces their water-transporting ability.

            I also store mint, chives, parsley, argula, asparagus and rapini this way, though them I put in the fridge.

            1. re: carswell

              I don't bother with the bag, but then again Seattle is not particularly arid - the few stems left from the bag I bought at least two weeks ago are looking great. Freshly cut basil stems will start to grow roots after awhile. Just make sure that the leaves are not touching the water.

              I do use a bag on the asparagus in the fridge, though.

        3. Just wrap with paper towel and dampen slightly. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge. I buy basil every week and I find that to be the best way of storing it.

          1. A vendor at my local farmers market is selling basil w/ roots (and a little mud) still attached and it lasts more than a week in a vase w/ water and makes a lovely centerpiece, too (no need for an ugly plastic bag w/ those roots, see). I change the water every day.

            Otherwise, I just store it in a plastic bag on the counter, loosely sealed and sprinkled w/ a bit of water. I don't bother putting it in a vase w/ water. It doesn't seem to make a difference; lasts a couple of days either way, I've found.

            3 Replies
            1. re: MollyGee

              Glad to hear that works for you but it doesn't jibe with my experience. Maybe the stuff you buy is different and maybe climatic conditions enter into the equation but even the farmers' market basil with roots I buy will start losing tone within hours unless it's kept under plastic; with plastic, it lasts four or five days to a week. If left in a bag on the counter, it's basically useless after 24 hours, with many of the leaves getting black splotches. Besides, you wouldn't dream of treating cut flowers that way, would you?

              1. re: carswell

                Hm. I bought some with roots on Tuesday (ok, fair enough, only two days ago) and it is still just as beautiful today as on Tuesday. Perhaps it is climatic- I'm in northern California and basil and mediterranean climates are like peanut butter and jelly.

                1. re: MollyGee

                  What is left of my rooted basil is still fresh as can be (Day 5). Maybe your rooted basil didn't include ALL of its roots...?

            2. Where I live a little pot of basil costs 99p or so, which is only slightly more than it costs to buy a bunch. So I buy that, especially if I don't want to use it all immediately. It lasts as long as I keep watering it and letting new leaves sprout!

                1. I wash, spin-dry, and store basil in my crisper in a baggie with holes poked in it and a loose paper towel. When it looks like it's losing its freshness, I chop it, store it in freezer baggies, and freeze it. It loses its bright-green color on thawing, but retains a surprising amount of its flavor, and is far better than letting it rot. And I always have some basil on hand.

                  1. I separate it out, setting each stem on a damp paper towel, and sealing it in a ZipLoc veggie (the perforated type) bag. I also make sure that I don't crush it when it's in the crisper of my fridge.

                    Since starting to do it this way, I can keep it about 3-4 days longer than when I would keep it out on the counter in water or unprocessed and still in the plastic bin from TJ's.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: The Ranger

                      Thanks for all the tips, this is the first year the basil in my garden is well "lime green" and small. Perhaps it's a different straing? But anyway, I was always so used to clipping a few leaves when I needed them that my last purchase turned into a wilting mess the next day. Thanks again for the tips!

                    2. I cut these tops off before flowering and put them in water right away. I use a shallow Tupperware bottom and a cooling rack to keep the leaves out of the water which I change every other day. These have been in water for 5 days.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: grampart

                        That's pretty amazing. Were these cut off of a potted basil plant, or were they from a store-bought container of cut stems and leaves?

                        1. re: rookiecookie

                          They were cut from the potted plants on my patio.

                      2. I grow my own herbs and find that basil lasts longer, freshly cut with stems set into a small bowl of water. I cut them with herb shears (scissors), short stems and change the water every morning. The basil leaves will remain fresh for 5 - 6 days.