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Oct 11, 2009 03:52 PM

Help me save my basil

I bought a beautiful bunch of basil yesterday with roots still attached. I placed them in a jar of water on my kitchen table and this morning, to my horror, I woke up to a pathetic limping basil bouquet.

Any tips on reviving or storing basil that still has its root?

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  1. You might want to post this to the Gardening board.

    1. When I bring home basil with roots-on, I put it in a little jar of water, and place the bag it came in over the top of the leaves, and place the whole thing in the refrigerator.

      4 Replies
      1. re: shaogo

        Ooops--my misinterpretation. I was thinking that Pizza_Lover bought one of those potted basil plants seen in some grocery stores.

        To Pizza Lover--maybe refresh this with very cold water (maybe ice water)?

        1. re: shaogo

          How long does the basil last for? And why do you cover the basil with the bag?

          And nofunlatte - thanks for pointing out there's a gardening section on Chowhound - I never even knew there was one (I'll just attribute that to my despair over the limping basil ;) )

          1. re: Pizza Lover

            I've had "live" (rooted) basil last in the refrigerator for 1.5 weeks. And I can't tell you *why* to use the bag, specifically, but just that it works. I hope you're aware that it's not a good idea to wet basil leaves - the bag, apparently, allows the basil to retain a *bit* of moisture but not enough to make the leaves turn black. A chef I studied under many years ago taught me to do this with basil and other rooted herbs. It's always worked.

          2. re: shaogo

            i do that with parsley. The store sells me 5 bunches for .99. Place them in a jar with cold water and cover it with a plastic bag. Make tabolleh (sp) with most of the parsley.

          3. Pizza Lover, did you try giving the roots a fresh cut? When I buy fresh basil with the roots still attached, I make a fresh cut and literally place the whole bunch in a small vase on my counter. I change the water every day until it's used up. I never refrig. fresh basil. Good luck!

            1. Pizza Lover, I have this problem a *lot*, I think since the temperature of my kitchen is too warm for basil (yet I still have aspirations of leaving bunches of this fragrant stuff on my countertop because it looks so nice). I've played around with a lot of resuscitation methods and the best one I've found so far has been to wrap the roots tightly in very wet paper towel, wrap the rest of the plant loosely in slightly damp paper towel, place the entire mummy in an unzipped plastic bag, and then refrigerate it in the bottom drawer of my refrigerator. Within a day or so, the leaves should be as spry as ever.

              1 Reply
              1. re: cimui

                Update: I placed the basil in a watered container in the fridge and wrapped in plastic overnight. While the stalk did firm up and only 5 or so leaves firmed up and regained their previous luster - most of the basil is still pathetic. This is probably the method I'll use to store future basil purchases.

                Cimui, tonight I'm trying your method. And at this point, reviving my basil has become a challenge and an obsession.

                Thanks to all for your suggestions.