How to Store Basil: 3 No-Waste Hacks to Store it Perfectly and Make it Last Longer!

Preserve basil freshness with 3 hacks: store in a jar with water, refrigerate wrapped in a paper towel, or freeze in olive oil cubes. Drying basil extends its life but may reduce flavor, while freezing preserves it better. Basil lasts up to 10 days in the fridge.

By Cookist
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Basil, with its lush green leaves and aromatic presence, is a staple in many kitchens, but often we find ourselves with more basil than we can use before it wilts. If you’re tired of seeing your basil go to waste after just a few days, fear not. We’ve compiled three perfect storage hacks that will not only extend the life of your basil but also ensure it remains as fresh and flavorful as the day you bought it.

1. Store in a Jar

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A simple yet effective method to keep basil fresh is by storing it in a jar of water. First, remove the basil from its plastic packaging. Next, place the stems in a jar filled with water, ensuring the leaves remain above the waterline. Store the jar in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Remember to change the water every 3 days to prevent the stems from rotting. This method can significantly extend your basil's freshness, often lasting up to two weeks or more.

2. Refrigerate with a Paper Towel

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Another great way to preserve basil is in the fridge, but with a twist to ensure longevity. Start by washing and thoroughly drying the basil leaves. Lay them out on a paper towel, then gently roll the towel up with the basil inside. Place this rolled towel into a food bag and store it in the fridge. This method can keep your basil fresh for up to 10 days, maintaining its vibrant color and aromatic flavor.

3. Olive Oil Cubes

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For those who wish to enjoy the essence of fresh basil year-round, transforming it into olive oil cubes is an innovative solution. Place some basil leaves into each compartment of an ice tray. Pour olive oil over the leaves, filling each compartment. Freeze the tray, and once solid, you’ll have olive oil cubes infused with the essence of basil. These cubes are perfect for melting in a pan when starting a sauce or simply for seasoning bread. It’s a convenient way to add a burst of basil flavor to your dishes at any time of the year.

Drying vs. Freezing Basil: Which is Best?

When it comes to preserving basil, drying and freezing are two commonly considered methods. Drying basil involves removing all moisture from the leaves, either through air drying, using a dehydrator, or an oven. This method is best for long-term storage, as dried basil can last for several months to a year when stored in a cool, dark place. However, it's important to note that drying can lead to a significant loss in flavor and aroma, especially when compared to fresh basil.

Freezing, on the other hand, better preserves the basil's essential oils, maintaining more of its fresh flavor and scent. The olive oil cube method is a great example of how to freeze basil effectively. While frozen basil may not be ideal for garnishes due to textural changes, it’s perfect for cooked dishes where basil's aroma and taste are desired.

Shelf Life in the Fridge

If opting to store basil in the fridge, using the paper towel method, it’s essential to know how long it will last. Properly stored, basil can remain fresh in the fridge for up to 10 days. However, the key is ensuring the leaves are dry before refrigeration to prevent mold and rot. Regularly check the basil and remove any leaves that start to show signs of spoilage to prevent it from affecting the rest.

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