How to Store Fresh Basil In Your Kitchen for 3 Weeks
As one of the most commonly used herbs for cooking, basil not only can bring your food a delightful smell with a fresh taste, but also can add loads of nutrients to your meal, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin K, iron, and calcium. In addition, when it comes to food garnishing, fresh basil leaves can certainly enlighten your food. The mushroom bites look a lot cuter with the small leaves on top, don’t they?
However, if you buy some fresh basil for making a specific dish, you are probably not going to finish all of it at once. Fresh basil doesn’t last very long. Even if you keep them in the fridge, you will still find the shape of the leaves goes wither and the color turns black in about 3-4 days. I learned my lesson!
So I was looking for a way to prevent it from happening again…
There are probably more methods to store fresh basil. Freezing it seems to be a pretty efficient way (I haven’t tried this way yet as I would like to use basil frequently for my cooking), but I found storing it in the water to be the simplest method and I was very happy with the result.
According to my grocery shopping record, this bunch of fresh basil in the photos was purchased on August 9. (I have a little habit to keep track of certain things. Grocery shopping happens to be one of them.:P) The left photo was taken about one week after I bought it (on August 15). The right photo was taken on August 22, about two weeks after the purchase day. (I did want to show you the result, so I checked the dates on my camera.) See? It still look totally fresh and healthy! 😀
Here’s what I did to keep this big bunch of fresh basil on my kitchen counter for 3 weeks.
- Find a reasonably tall container, such as a jar or a small vase if you happen to have in hand. Apparently, a paper cup could do the trick too (see photos).:P Add some water in.
- Gently stick the basil into the water. Arrange it as if you arrange a bunch of flowers. Make sure the stems are covered by the water but not the leaves. Tear off some leaves near the end if necessary. (Just use the torn-off leaves for your upcoming meal – no wasting.)
- Loosely cover the leaves by a big plastic bag from the top to keep moisture stay in.
This bunch was all finished by now because I had been using it in my daily cooking. To use this method, keep it on your kitchen counter out of the sun so that you won’t forget about it. I changed the water once a week. It might or might not be necessary but I just like to keep things clean. 🙂
Here you have the result of my little experiment. Hope you find it helpful! Next time you have fresh basil in your kitchen, try it out. You will find it’s quite nice to have a little greenery on your kitchen counter. I am going to buy another bunch of basil now as somebody in my apartment is craving some eggplant casserole…
Thank you for this tip! I used up two bunches of basil wihtin 2 days of bringing home from farmers market, but I guarantee you if I didn’t use this method, and put it in the fridge, it would have turned black and unusable. Speaking from experience. This time the basil stayed as fresh as the day I bought it. Thanks again!
Very happy to hear that, Jacqueline! Thank you for your comment! 🙂
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I will try this. I did try this using a rubber band and not leaving the plastic bag loose at the bottom but I will next time. Hope it works.
You can propagate all herbs by cutting the stems below the last node and rooting them in water! I’ve planted my basil, mint, rosemary and other herbs after keeping them in a glass of water to keep them fresh longer.
I tried to attach a picture. I did exactly what everyone said to do, my basil withered and died within hour 🧐
A little late into the conversion, but I have used this method with great success, and have a great side note! First, I don’t use the bag. I am fortunate to have a warm sunny window to set the jar into, and it thrives on its own. My market cuts the stems about 7-8″ long. I use the lower leafs first, then cut a fresh 45* angle on the stems before I put them in the water. If your setting it in a window with direct sunlight, change the water every few days, to prevent algae from growing. If you leave a few medium-sized leafs at the top, keep the water clean and have decent sunlight, they will grow roots! I was able to propagate several clones this way. Because the best Thai basil is the kind that grows in your yard!
Awesome tips!! Thanks so much for sharing! Yea, if you have a sunny window, that’s perfect for basil. It requires a lot of sun and water apparently. When I wrote this post, I kept the basil on my kitchen counter. There’s no window in the kitchen. But the basil still managed to last a long time.
Awesome tip! Question: does the plastic bag stay over the basil 24/7 or just at night? Could the basil be in the sun or is it a preference. My kitchen counter is in sunlight. Thanks!!
Hey Dani! My kitchen had no windows back then, so I left the basil on the kitchen counter without the sun. You do want to keep the plastic bag stay over the basil 24/7. Some people suggest to keep it in the fridge with the plastic bag, so the basil will last even longer. I haven’t tried that yet because now I have a fresh basil plant at home. (It only cost me $2.00). The basil plant requires a lot of water AND SUN every day in order to grow, but it’s kinda nice to have access to basil whenever I want. 🙂
Oh wow. This is pretty genius. I’m def. gonna try it. My basil’s always dying on me before I have a chance to use it up 🙁
Hey Sasha, I had the same problem before and I really hated watching it die. Basil can last a lot longer with this tip. I am pretty happy with the result since I can definitely use up one big bunch of basil within 3 weeks. Glad you found it useful! 🙂
Useful tip! I wonder if it works with mint and Thai basil leaves too? I’m also annoyed by wasting fresh herbs when you can’t use them up fast enough. Thanks!
Good question! My guess is that it should work with Thai basil leaves because they belong to the same plant family. Not sure about mint though. Will look into it and let you know if I find anything useful. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂