Basil, so popular in various dishes and a key ingredient in pesto, is difficult to keep intact. It turns black and wilts quickly.
The fresher you buy it, of course, the longer it will keep. But even if you leave it just a few hours in the refrigerator, you’ll find it irreparably wilted.
How to store basil, then? There are actually several ways to keep its fragrance longer.
How to store basil
Basil is one of the most appreciated aromatic herbs in the world but its use is not only limited to cooking. It is also used in cosmetics and in herbal medicine.
Once grown, the seedling does not require any particular care, it just needs to be watered regularly and you can pick its leaves all summer long until it blooms.
Below we introduce you to how to store basil:
With this simple method, you can keep the leaves intact for a week.
- basil seedlings (without roots)
- a plastic bag
- a glass or plastic jar
- water at room temperature
- Pour water into the jar and insert the seedlings.
- Cover everything with the plastic bag, taking care not to crush the leaves. Leave some space for transpiration.
- Place the pot on the balcony or keep it in the kitchen.
- Change the water every two days
Even with this simple technique of storing basil, you can keep it for about seven days without freezing it.
- basil leaves.
- sheets of kitchen paper (alternatively you can use a towel)
- an airtight bag
- Wash the basil leaves and dry them carefully.
- Lay them on sheets of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
- Gently roll up the paper or towel leaving the leaves inside.
- Place the roll in an airtight bag.
- Put the bag in the refrigerator
It’s not very easy to manage this technique but if you can do it, you can keep the fragrance of the basil intact even for a couple of years.
- basil leaves
- baking paper
- airtight container
- drip pan
- Wash and dry the basil leaves
- Lay a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray
- Place the basil leaves on the baking sheet.
- Turn on the oven at low temperature
- Place the drip pan as high as possible in the oven
- After a couple of hours, the basil should be crumbly.
- Remove the drip pan from the oven and let the leaves cool down
- Put the leaves in airtight containers and store in a dry place
If you have a dryer, place the leaves on a tray and leave them in the device at 90 degrees for eight to ten hours.
Freezing is the best way to store fresh basil for use on pizza or in tomato puree whenever you need it. It allows you to always have it on hand for up to six months.
You can freeze basil in two ways: by putting it in bags or in ice cube trays.
- basil leaves
- freezer bags (alternatively, ice cube trays)
Steps with the bags:
- Wash the leaves, dry them and place them inside the bag.
- Let the air out of the bag, then close it again.
- Put the bag in the freezer.
Steps with ice cube trays:
- Chop basil finely enough to fit in the compartments of the tray
- Add a few drops of water. You can also pour olive oil on top so you can use the cubes straight from the freezer into the pan.
- Put the tray in the freezer
- Once they’re frozen, you can put the cubes in a plastic bag
If you want to have your leaves already seasoned and ready to use, you can keep them in oil for several months.
- basil leaves
- extra virgin olive oil
- a glass jar with garnish
- Wash and dry the leaves completely
- Place them in the glass jar and add a couple of teaspoons of salt.
- Gently shake the jar to distribute the salt evenly over all the leaves.
- Fill the jar with the extra virgin olive oil taking care to cover the leaves.
- Close the jar and place in the refrigerator.
Whenever you remove the top leaves to prepare your tasty dishes, remember to always add a drizzle of olive oil to the jar. And once you’re done with the leaves, use the oil to dress salads or pasta sauce: it will taste delicious.
You can store basil in salt for at least six months.
- basil leaves
- a container with a lid
- Clean and dry the leaves
- Pour half an inch of salt into the container.
- Lay a layer of basil leaves on top of the salt and cover with more salt. Press the leaves lightly, without breaking them.
- Continue adding layers of leaves until the container is full.
- Hose down the container and shake it gently to evenly distribute the salt.
- Leave the container in a cool, dry place. Each time you remove leaves, add more salt.
The best option to store basil depends on your needs, how much time you want to spend on it, and how you want to use the basil.
If you want to have basil for a long time and use it directly to flavor your dishes or sauces, the freezing method is definitely the best way to store basil.
In any case, do not cut the leaves with a knife or scissors when preparing basil, but tear them off with your hands to keep their fragrance intact