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Best way to keep fresh basil fresh?

Plastic bag? Or is some other technique better? There are 2 of us & I hate throwing it away after a (very) few days..

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  1. Like lettuce, I wrap it in damp paper towels and then put it in a plastic bag. I've been able to keep basil (and lettuces) 7 to 10 days this way - occasionally re-dampening the towels, if needed.

    1. I put them in a glass of water and place a plastic bag over the top (in the frige, of course.)

      2 Replies
      1. re: weezieduzzit

        If you're going to cook it (and not use it raw in salads), you should be able to wash, chop, and freeze it. I do this with parsley, mint, and green onions; that way when you need some, you can just grab a handful out of the freezer. The texture will soften, though, so you'll lose the crunch.

        1. Basil comes from warm climates and, therefore, suffers damage from the cold of a refrigerator. The best way, therefore, to store basil is to keep it out of the refrigerator. Treat it like a flower and simply keep the freshly cut stems in water at cool room temperature.

          1. I've had a bunch of basil sitting in a jug of water on my counter for a week and the leaves are still fresh and healthy. I change the water every couple of days and it helps if no leaves are below the water line as they get slimy and gross.

            1. I have found the best way to keep it fresh when I bring it home from the farmer's market, is to cut the ends off (like you would with fresh flowers) and keep it on the counter in a vase with water...it keeps for quite a long time like this. It does better this way than in the fridge in water, I have found...

              1 Reply
              1. re: bostongal

                Ditto to all of the above posters who said to keep it out of the fridge & in water like flowers. I remove the rubber band, trim about an inch from the bottom, & stick it in water on my kitchen counter. If it was fresh-cut to begin with, it lasts for a good week or more at least this way. Since it's a tropical plant, the fridge isn't really the best place for it, although when pressed for space, & if freshly cut, I've had some last well for up 4 days or more. Really depends on when it was cut.

              2. Basil is closely related to Mint and approach it as if it were mint....it wants more water than most herbs and prefers more humidity than most herbs.

                If it gets to looking limp, just recut the bottoms.

                In or out of the frig depends on the temperatures in your kitchen/frig. The plastic bags recommended above keep the humidity up.

                1 Reply
                1. re: shallots

                  That'd have to be a mighty cold kitchen. The only reason to keep fresh basil in the refrigerator would be if the kitchen were colder than the refrigerator.

                2. Grow your own. When you need some pinch off a few leaves.

                  1. As others have said, treat it as you would fresh flowers, trim the stems and place in fresh water, top off as needed. I have even had basil root in water, it grew for six weeks!