Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Mequoda Publishing Network

How to Store Fresh-Cut Basil Leaves

Already have a lifetime supply of pesto? Not sure what to do with all the basil you still have? Find out how to store fresh-cut basil leaves so you can enjoy them all year long.

Young women cuts fresh herbs for a dinner

Cutting fresh basil

If you planted basil this year, it probably seemed like it took a month to establish, then all of a sudden you’re in pesto heaven. But how much pesto can one person really make, right?

Stop right there, because there’s no such thing as too much pestoyou can freeze it. But if you’re not ready to make any decisions, and you’re wondering how to store fresh-cut basil leaves, there are several options, from freezing it in olive oil, to refrigerating in herb keepers, to drying.

Discover 7 top tips for growing, harvesting, and enjoying tomatoes from your home garden—when you access the FREE guide The Best Way to Grow Tomatoes, right now!

How to store fresh-cut basil leaves so you can enjoy garden herbs all year

A few basil plants, strategically planted in sunny garden plots (or sunny patio containers) will give you an abundance of wonderfully aromatic basil leaves. But as fall and winter approach, you need to figure out how to store fresh-cut basil leaves so they don’t go to waste.

Basil has a tendency to wilt and go bad quickly. So over the years, industrious gardeners have figured out a few ways to keep basil around longer.

basil in glass

Cut basil in glass

    1. Make a basil bouquet. If you plan to use your basil within a week or so, you can trim the stems, just like you would with flowers. Place these in a tall glass of water on your counter. Before you get excited about a basil bouquet, though, there’s one more step: Cover the basil with a loose plastic bag. This creates a mini-greenhouse, allowing the basil to stay fresh and green. I’ve also used a device called an “Herb Keeper” that you can find on Amazon, which goes in the fridge and follows the same idea. I’ve kept herbs like basil alive for weeks in mine.
Basil in Bag

Basil in plastic bag

    1. Store the basil in a plastic bag. Alternatively, you can pick the basil leaves, lay them in a single file in a paper towel, and roll up the towel around them. Place the paper towel in a plastic bag and you can store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Discover 7 top tips for growing, harvesting, and enjoying tomatoes from your home garden—when you access the FREE guide The Best Way to Grow Tomatoes, right now!

What about all those basil leaves you can’t use in the next two weeks? You still need to figure out how to store fresh-cut basil leaves for the long term. How does up to a year sound?

dried basil in a jar

Dried basil

    1. Dry your basil in the oven. Rather than spending money at the grocery store on dried herbs, you can dry your own basil. Thoroughly dry the leaves and spread them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Put them in the oven on the lowest setting possible for two to four hours. Once they are dry, you can crumble them and use them whenever you need.
Fresh basil hanging on string

Hanging basil

    1. Air-dry your basil. You can also air-dry your basil, but this can be a little tricky if conditions aren’t just right. Simply hang them upside-down in small bunches in a dark, dry spot with good air circulation. It may take a week or two for your basil to dry this way, but if you’re wondering how to store fresh-cut basil leaves in a “set it and forget it” way, this is it.
Freezing basil in ice tray

Frozen basil cubes

  1. Freeze your basil. If you’re like me, you probably already have a few pins on your Pinterest board about freezing herbs, and basil is a good candidate for this method, as long as you don’t plan to use it in a caprese salad or anything. Simply chop or use herb scissors to cut up your (washed) basil leaves, and add just a drop of olive oil to the batch so that they don’t go black when you freeze them. Then, add them to an ice cube tray. You can leave them in the tray, or bag them up once they’re frozen and use them in sauces and pasta dishes another time.

How do you store your fresh basil? Any tips you would add?

Discover 7 top tips for growing, harvesting, and enjoying tomatoes from your home garden—when you access the FREE guide The Best Way to Grow Tomatoes, right now!

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enter Your Log In Credentials

This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.

Need Assistance?

Call Food Gardening Network Customer Service at
(800) 777-2658

Send this to a friend