Best Practices for Storing Cut Basil to Keep it Fresh and Flavorful

Basil: An Essential Herb for Every Kitchen

Basil, also known as the “king of herbs”, is a versatile and fragrant herb that adds depth and flavor to many dishes. It’s an essential ingredient in Italian cuisine, but it’s used all over the world in everything from pesto to stir-fries.

While fresh basil can be found year-round at most grocery stores, growing your own basil plant ensures you always have a supply on hand. However, if you’ve ever grown basil or bought a bunch from the store, you know that it has a short shelf life. Storing cut basil properly can extend its life by several days.

Why Proper Storage is Crucial

Before we dive into how to store cut basil effectively, let’s discuss why proper storage is essential.

Basil leaves are delicate and prone to wilting quickly when exposed to air or moisture. The longer they sit out of water or refrigeration, the more likely they will turn brown and become unusable. When stored correctly, though, cut basil can last up to five days in ideal conditions.

The Best Way To Store Cut Basil

Here are some effective ways to store cut basil:

Option 1: In Water like Fresh Flowers

If you want your freshly harvested (or purchased) cut herbs like flowers arranged with their stems standing upright instead of being wilted after only a few hours outside the refrigerator away from sunlight then consider placing them in water just as one does with flowers.

To do this:
– Trim off any leaves that will fall below water level
– Fill a jar with cool water
– Place your trimmed stems into it; make sure all leaves above the surface
– Cover loosely with plastic wrap or put inside ziplock bag

Keep jars/bags in high humid area where temperature doesn’t go above room temperature, change water every day or two. This method works well for basil and other fresh herbs like mint, cilantro and parsley.

Option 2: In The Fridge

Storing cut basil in the fridge is another effective way to keep it fresh. To do this:

– Wrap your basil in a damp paper towel
– Then place the wrapped leaves inside a plastic bag with a few small holes to allow air circulation

The damp paper towel will keep the leaves moist without becoming too wet; meanwhile, the plastic bag will help retain moisture while still allowing air movement. When stored this way, cut basil can last up to five days in ideal conditions.

The Don’ts of Storing Cut Basil

To make sure that your cut basil stays fresh as long as possible, there are some things you should avoid doing when storing it:

Don’t Store It Dry: Fresh herbs require humidity to thrive. If they dry out completely during storage they’ll wilt and become unusable very fast.

Don’t Wash Before Storage: Excess moisture can cause premature spoilage so don’t wash the leaves before storing them because high water content accelerates deterioration rate.

In Conclusion

Knowing how to store your freshly harvested or bought cut basil properly is crucial if you want it to last more than just one or two days on average after harvesting (or purchasing). With these tips above you’re now able extend its life by several more days whether arranging stems upright like flowers vase-style utilizing low-tech solution involving jar filled with cool water or wrapping tightly using dampened paper towels then placing all in resealable ziplock bags into refrigerator’s crisper drawer –either way works perfectly fine!

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