When it comes to making sure that you are keeping your greens fresh in the kitchen, there are countless ways to get the job done.
More often than not, you are going to be relying on the fridge to be the best place to store your green foods, as the fridge has one of the best environments for long-term storage.
It creates an environment where the temperature is low enough that most mold and other bacteria cannot form on the greens, but at the same time, it is not cold enough to freeze all of the water content in the plant and render it useless.
With that being said, there are obviously going to be different ways to take care of different kinds of foods. Some types of food benefit from certain types of storage containers, such as being kept in a crisper drawer compared to being kept in the door of the fridge.
Other times, different forms of food need to be stored differently than their original, store-bought form. This is most apparent with fruits, as once a fruit is cut, it tends to go bad considerably fast.
So what about herbs? Herbs still fall into the category of being a leafy green food in the sense that they need to be kept in the fridge at all times when you are not actively preparing them as an ingredient.
Likewise, herbs are not necessarily like fruits or vegetables in the sense that when you cut into them, you are exposing the weak and delicate innards of the food and special care will be needed to protect them.
Instead, herbs tend to have their own needs for storage, and freshly cut basil is no different from these foods.
If you are trying to figure out how to keep basil fresh, no matter if it is freshly cut or if you are planning to cut it soon, you should make sure that you have a basic understanding of how you can keep herbs fresh.
Once you know what to do with your herbs, you won’t have to do anything considerably different when you are looking into the best ways to keep your basil fresh.
Storing Your Herbs
Within the category of herbs, there are still different subsets that you are going to be working with. Some herbs are going to be soft and tender, and these are going to be similar to a bouquet of flowers in appearance.
This is the category of herbs that basil falls into, with basil being quite the leafy herb. There are also hard and wooden herbs that you may come across, such as rosemary, thyme, and chives.
These herbs tend to be much easier to store because their harder exteriors protect them from the natural process of decay, at least to some extent.
When it comes to storing softer herbs, you are first going to want to make sure that they are properly trimmed and treated. If you are used to handling bouquets of flowers, then these next few steps are going to come easy for you, as you are going to be treating these herbs much like a delicate bouquet.
First things first, you are going to want to make sure that you have a glass filled with cool water. The glass should be large enough to accommodate however many herbs you may have.
You should then work on trimming down the ends of the stems of your soft herbs before putting them in the glass. This will ensure that the ends of the stems will be fresh and ready to take in the water so that the herbs can still get some nutrients so they do not die out all that quickly.
Most soft herbs can handle being put into the fridge, covered loosely in a plastic bag to help retain as much moisture as possible in the dry environment of the fridge. However, this is one area where basil begins to part with most standard herbs.
Instead of being able to store your basil stalks in the fridge with the rest of the soft herbs, the nature of basil means that the leaves will begin to darken and die off if you try to store it in the fridge, which is the exact opposite of what you want to have happen.
At this point in storing your herbs, you will want to set the basil apart from the rest of the herbs so that you can tend to it in particular so that you can make the most out of your basil, no matter if it is just fresh or freshly cut.
Keeping Your Basil as Fresh as Possible
Unlike most other soft, green herbs, basil does best when you leave it out on the countertop. The countertop provides the best atmosphere for the basil to stay alive and it will also make sure that the basil is in quick reach while you are working in the kitchen.
When you are looking into how you need to store your basil, you can begin with most of the steps you would take to storing most other soft herbs.
Again, you will want to begin by making use of a glass container that is large enough to hold all of your basil. From here, you will want to fill that container with cool water, just as you would for any other bouquet of flowers or bundle of herbs.
This is going to be one of the main preserving factors in keeping your basil fresh, especially when it has been freshly cut, so it is crucial to make sure there is enough water for all of your basil.
Next, you will want to focus on trimming down the stems of the basil so that they are all cleanly and evenly cut. This will open up the base of the stem, so to speak, to allow for the water and nutrients to pass through the rest of the plant and keep it alive for as long as possible now that you have removed it from the ground.
This step is important as well, as this will make sure that your basil is getting enough nutrients to last the week or two that a properly stored bushel of basil can last.
Once all of the basil is in the container, you will then want to put a light and loose plastic covering over all of the basil plant. Depending on how much basil you have, this can range from a standard produce bag to something much larger.
Essentially, you are going to want a cover that allows for any water that is evaporated to condense on the surface of the bag, rather than elsewhere in the house.
This ensures that any and all water your basil plant needs isn’t going to be too far from the basil plant, considering the jar of water you used to plant the basil in and the bag that keeps water from escaping the area.
By making sure that you are properly storing your basil, you can feel confident that you will be able to make the most out of your freshly cut basil for the next two weeks without having to give a second thought to the idea of needing to replace wilted or dying basil leaves.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.