If you’ve ever wondered the best ways to store fresh basil, this guide is just what you need. Storing basil properly will help it retain freshness for longer and lock in the fresh peppery flavor of this aromatic herb. In this post, I share 5 simple ways to store it.

A bundle of fresh basil on a wooden table.

Keeping Your Basil Fresh 

There is something about picking the leaves off a bunch of fresh basil. It’s so fragrant! And it’s that fragrance that adds to the flavor profile of the leafy green herb, making it a star ingredient in various meals like pasta, pizza, and even Asian dishes. 

Basil is one of the most versatile herbs you can have in the kitchen, and it has some important health benefits as well. For instance, did you know that basil is popular in folk remedies for tackling nausea and insect bites? It also supplies plant compounds with antioxidant properties and is widely utilized in holistic medicine systems like Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. 

That’s a lot of goodness in a tiny bunch of leaves! But how do you store this fantastic herb for ultimate freshness? There are many methods to store fresh basil leaves, from dehydrating them to keeping them fresh in the refrigerator. 

Each method of storing this flavorful herb has its own merits. In this post, I’ll share five different methods.

Why You Want to Store Basil Properly

  • Storing basil correctly locks in the flavor so you get the maximum benefit in your recipes.
  • Proper storage will keep your basil fresh for longer. This helps reduce food waste and keeps your costs down.
  • Basil wilts very quickly, so it’s best to store it properly. You’ll extend the lifespan of fresh basil by at least several days if you take a few precautions.

Nothing Beats Fresh Basil

It’s true; there is nothing better than the delicate yet powerfully flavorsome aroma of fresh basil. I love experimenting with different types of basil and using it with various cuisines, especially in Asian dishes like Spicy Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai.)

Maybe you like experimenting with basil as I do, or you stick to traditional recipes. You could enjoy basil leaves on top of your favorite woodfired pizza slices or ground up with pine nuts and parmesan to make a tasty homemade pesto – perhaps even a pistou to impress your vegan friends. Whatever you prefer, fresh basil is unbeatable. 

You don’t even have to have a green thumb to grow your own basil. You can buy the plants in a pot and just pluck off a few leaves every time you want some fresh herbs.

How to Store Fresh Basil – 5 Methods

With these simple recipes for five methods to store fresh basil, you’ll never have to waste this delicious leafy, green herb again.

1. The Water Method

The method for storing basil is ideal for storing bunches of fresh basil that are still on the stem. It will keep your leaves fresh, vibrant, and full of life! Think of your basil as a flavorsome flower bouquet.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of fresh basil
  • 1 plastic or silicone sandwich bag
  • 1 glass of clean drinking water

Instructions

  1. Carefully trim the stems and remove any bruised leaves. 
  2. Place the unwashed basil into a vase of water.
  3. Cover the leaves with a bag. 
  4. Place in the refrigerator. Or, if you are going to use the basil within a couple of days, you can keep it on the kitchen counter. Just keep it out of direct sunlight.

Notes: 

  1. You can store as much fresh basil as you have.
  2. Don’t throw away any good leaves that have fallen off of the stems; keep those and check out the alternative method below.

2. Salad Green Method

When it comes to refrigerators, not everyone has the space to store a glass with a bunch of basil in. The “salad green” method is ideal for when you lack the space or have a stack of loose leaves you need to store. 

This is probably the easiest way and the best method for getting the best results when storing your basil.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of fresh basil
  • Paper towels 
  • Container or a Ziplock bag

Instructions

  1. Carefully remove the leaves from the stems. 
  2. Pat the leaves dry or spin dry in a salad spinner. The leaves have to be as dry as possible.
  3. On a clean and dry paper towel, lay the leaves out. 
  4. Gently roll the leaves up in the paper towel. 
  5. Place the paper towel in an airtight container or a resealable bag and store it in the refrigerator. 

Notes: 

This method will keep your leaves hydrated and fresh while managing any dampness that could lead to wilting. 

3. Freezing 

Are you heading out on vacation and have a bunch of basil you don’t want to waste? Your freezer is an ideal place to store your basil greens!

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of fresh basil
  • Boiling water
  • Ice bath
  • Resealable freezer bag 
  • Parchment or wax paper

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil on the stovetop.
  2. Tear the basil leaves from the stem and blanch in boiling water for two seconds.
  3. Transfer the leaves immediately to an ice bath.
  4. Pat the leaves dry or spin dry in a salad spinner. The leaves have to be as dry as possible.
  5. Place the basil leaves in layers on parchment or wax paper and store them in a freezer-safe container. 

Notes: 

You can use frozen basil as you would fresh basil, only you won’t need as much. Since the leaves shrink as they freeze but still retain the intense flavor, you may find that less is necessary to get the same flavor as using fresh basil. 

4. Frozen Basil Cubes with Olive Oil

If you want something a little more flavorsome and easy to use in your cooking – this is the best way to preserve and store basil!  You’ll just need an ice cube tray.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of fresh basil
  • Good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • An ice-cube tray

Instructions

  1. Tear the leaves from the stems and carefully wash them with cold water.
  2. Pat the leaves dry or spin dry in a salad spinner. The leaves have to be as dry as possible.
  3. Roll the leaves up in a cigar shape, and slice thinly. 
  4. Place equal amounts of leaves into each compartment of the ice cube tray. 
  5. Slowly pour olive oil into each compartment filling the trays with oil; use a spoon to push any leaves down until covered with the oil carefully. 
  6. Freeze the trays. 
  7. Once it is frozen, remove the herb ice cubes and store them in a resealable bag for added freshness. 

Notes: 

You can add other aromatics such as finely chopped garlic, thyme, rosemary, or favorite spices such as dried chili flakes for the ultimate flavor cubes. 

Be sure to use high quality olive oil for the best flavor.

5. Dried Basil

If you have too much basil to know what to do with and you’ve made enough pesto to stock your local Italian eatery for a month, you can always dehydrate your favorite herb. 

Basil is one of the most commonly store-bought dried herbs, and it is a wonderful addition to meals as a garnish, part of a salad dressing, or in your family’s favorite pasta dishes. You can never have too much dry basil!

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Get a baking sheet ready, pre-heat your oven to 95°F degrees, or prepare your dehydrator. Try to use the lowest temperature you can. If you use an oven, you may need to leave the oven door open to ensure it doesn’t get too hot.
  2. Remove the basil leaves from the stems. 
  3. Wash the delicate leaves carefully in a bowl of cold water.
  4. Pat the leaves dry or spin dry in a salad spinner. The leaves have to be as dry as possible. 
  5. Spread the leaves out in a single layer on the baking sheet, cookie sheet, or the dehydrator sheet. Try not to overlap the leaves. 
  6. Place in the oven for about 6 hours; frequently check to ensure that the leaves are drying and not burning. If you are using a dehydrator, make sure that you use the recommended herb setting for your dehydrator. 
  7. Allow the leaves to cool correctly. 
  8. Crumble the leaves using a mortar and pestle, with a coffee grinder, or by hand. 
  9. Store the dried leaves in an airtight container or glass jar for up to several months.

Notes: 

Glass jars or other airtight containers are the best option for storing dried basil leaves. This will ensure you get a fresh taste from your dried herbs.

Recipe FAQs

How long does frozen basil last? 

If you store basil at 0°F in the freezer, it could last for up to several years. However, you should probably use it within four to six months to ensure safety and flavor. 

Can I freeze fresh basil without blanching it?

You can freeze basil without blanching it, but if you want the garden-fresh flavor and color, it’s best to take that extra step. 

Can I store basil at room temperature?

Unless your basil is part of a potted basil plant and still on the stem, then it should be stored in the refrigerator or the freezer using one of the methods above.

Can I make pesto to store fresh basil?

Yes! You can make pesto to use up your basil and then either store the pesto in the fridge or the freezer. See my recipe for dairy-free pesto that gets made in a food processor.

Favorite Healthy Recipes Using Basil

I hope you make this recipe! If you do, please leave a comment and a starred review below.

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A bunch of fresh basil on a wooden table

How to Store Fresh Basil

If you’ve ever wondered how to store fresh basil, this guide is just what you need. Storing basil well will help it retain freshness for longer and lock in the fresh peppery flavor of this aromatic herb. 

  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 bunch fresh basil

Instructions

  1. The Water Method. This method is ideal for storing bunches of fresh basil that are still on the stem. It will keep your leaves fresh, vibrant, and full of life! Think of your basil as a bunch of flavorsome flowers. Carefully trim the stems and remove any bruised leaves. Place the stems into a glass of fresh drinking water. Cover the leaves with a bag. Place in the refrigerator. 
  2. Salad Greens Method. Carefully remove the leaves from the stems. Pat the leaves dry or spin dry in a salad spinner. The leaves have to be as dry as possible. On a clean and dry paper towel, lay the leaves out.  Gently roll the leaves up in the paper towel. Place the paper towel in an airtight container or a resealable bag and store it in the refrigerator. 
  3. Freezing. Bring a pot of water to boil on the stovetop. Tear the basil leaves from the stem and blanch in boiling water for two seconds. Transfer the leaves immediately to an ice bath. Pat the leaves dry or spin dry in a salad spinner. The leaves have to be as dry as possible. Place the basil leaves in layers on parchment or wax paper and store them in a freezer-safe container. 
  4. Frozen Basil Cubes. Tear the leaves from the stems and carefully wash them with cold water. Pat the leaves dry or spin dry in a salad spinner. The leaves have to be as dry as possible. Roll the leaves up in a cigar shape, and slice thinly. Place equal amounts of leaves into each compartment of the ice-cube tray. Slowly pour olive oil into each compartment filling the trays with oil; use a spoon to push any leaves down until covered with the oil carefully. Freeze the trays. Once it is frozen, remove the herb cubes and store them in a resealable bag for added freshness. 
  5. Dried Basil. Get a baking sheet ready, pre-heat your oven to 95°F degrees, or prepare your dehydrator. Remove the basil leaves from the stems. Wash the delicate leaves carefully in a bowl of cold water. Pat the leaves dry or spin dry in a salad spinner. The leaves have to be as dry as possible. Spread the leaves out on the baking sheet or the dehydrator sheet. Try not to overlap the leaves. Place in the oven for about 6 hours; frequently check to ensure that the leaves are drying and not burning. If you are using a dehydrator, make sure that you use the recommended herb setting for your dehydrator. Allow the leaves to cool correctly. Crumble the leaves using a mortar and pestle, with a coffee grinder, or by hand. Store the dried leaves in an airtight container.

Notes

  1. Use any of the five methods above for storing fresh basil. Each method will take a different amount of time to complete. 

Keywords: basil, dry herbs, storing herbs

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