Basil is a common ingredient in so many popular dishes and cuisine.
It’s especially popular in Italian cuisine and if you frequently make pasta and pizza dishes you will need a stock of basil in your kitchen.
However, basil can be difficult to store as it doesn’t stay fresh for very long.
It’s not unusual for your fresh basil to become limp and wilted before you’ve even been able to use it properly.
That’s why learning how to store basil to keep it as fresh as possible for as long as possible is important.
In this article, we will look at how you can store basil.
How To Store Fresh Basil
There is more than one method for storing basil and lots of debate about which method works best.
We recommend using whichever method suits you best.
Method 1 – Basil Bouquet
This method can keep your basil fresh for up to weeks.
If you’ve ever prepared fresh flowers for a vase then this will be very familiar to you!
- Glass jar/vase/glass
- Recycled plastic shopping bag
The first step is to take your scissors and use them to snip a little of the ends of the stems of your basil. You should make your cuts at a 45-degree angle, just as you would when preparing a bouquet of flowers.
Fill your glass container with water so that it is around half full.
Place the trimmed basil stems in the jar so that the cut ends are submerged in the water.
Only the stems should be in the water so make sure none of the basil leaves are.
If the leaves get in the water they will become dark and slimy, making them unusable.
Cover the container and basil with the plastic bag.
The bag shouldn’t be wrapped tight around the basil but should cover the leaves and jar completely.
Store the jar at room temperature.
You can leave it on a kitchen counter or somewhere else that isn’t too cold or warm.
You shouldn’t put the basil in the fridge with this method as it can speed up the process of your basil leaves turning dark.
If you’re going to store the basil for more than a few days, make sure that you repeat this process.
You will need to change the water and cut a little more from the stems every few days.
Make sure that whenever you do tend to your basil you rewrap it in a plastic bag.
Method 2 – Plastic Bag
This method is easier and quicker than the last one.
It allows you to store your basil in the refrigerator so it’s a good choice if you have nowhere to store a basil bouquet.
It will also keep your basil fresh for around two weeks.
- Paper towels/salad spinner
- Plastic bag
Firstly, you will need to remove all of the basil leaves from the stems using your hands or some scissors.
When the leaves have been removed, give them a wash and then dry them using either paper towels or a salad spinner if you have one.
Wrap your dried basil leaves in dry paper towels.
Place them inside a plastic bag and seal it shut.
Place in your fridge.
Make sure you use the basil within two weeks.
How To Freeze Basil
The two methods we just introduced will keep your basil fresh for up to two weeks.
But what if you need to store your basil for longer than this?
In this case, your best option is to freeze your basil as this will keep it fresher for longer.
Unfortunately, basil isn’t tough enough to survive simply being put into the freezer so there are several steps you need to take to make it suitable for freezing.
When frozen, it will last for up to three months.
- Cooking pot
- Ice water
- Paper towels/salad spinner
- Food processor
- Olive oil
- Ice tray
Begin by rinsing your basil so that it is clean.
Boil some water in your cooking pot and blanch the basil by dipping it in the water for around 10 seconds.
It’s easiest to do this by holding the basil in some tongs.
Once the basil has been blanched, immediately dunk it into a bowl of ice water.
Remove the basil from the ice water and dry it.
You can use either paper towels or a salad spinner for this if you have one.
Remove the leaves from the stems using your hands or scissors.
Put the leaves into your food processor and add a little olive oil.
You want to process the leaves and oil until you get a paste that is similar to pesto.
Put your leaves and oil paste into an ice tray.
This will allow you to remove little bits as you need them while keeping the rest frozen.
How To Use Frozen Basil
After you’ve frozen basil through this method, you can take an ice cube of basil out of the freezer whenever you need it.
When using frozen basil in a hot dish, you don’t need to let it thaw first and can add it to the dishes while still frozen.
For cold dishes, however, we would recommend allowing the basil to thaw and drain first before you use it.
In this article, we introduced three different ways to store basil.
The first two methods will allow you to store fresh basil whereas the third is for frozen basil.
Whether you decide to follow the basil bouquet method or the plastic bag method, both of these should allow you to keep your basil fresh for two weeks.
Our method for freezing basil, on the other hand, will allow you to store basil for up to three months.
- 8 ounces pasta
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- Salt and pepper
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
- While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the butter until it turns golden brown and has a nutty aroma. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic to the skillet and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly. This should take about 30 seconds.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and add the chopped basil leaves, stirring to combine.
- Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss until the pasta is coated with the brown butter sauce. If the pasta seems dry, add some of the reserved pasta water a little at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
- Season the pasta with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve the pasta hot, sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy your quick and easy Garlic Basil Brown Butter Pasta!