How to Store Basil

Basil gets its name from the Greek word ‘basileus’, which means ‘king’ because they believed that only the king could pick it. Regardless, the origin of the word is still fitting today as basil definitely rules the kitchen. It is one of the world’s most popular herbs, but it’s not only confined to the kitchen. It is also used in cosmetics and herbal medicine. But do you know how to store basil to preserve its freshness and properties?

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What is the best way to preserve fresh basil?

how to store basil - countertopCan basil be kept on the countertop?

A potted basil plant from the store often withers quickly after bringing it home. This is due to the incorrect storage of the fresh herbs in the supermarket. Therefore, the potted basil plant should be immediately replanted into a larger pot and have its soil changed. A layer of gravel should be placed at the bottom to prevent the roots from rotting. Then, place the pot with basil in a sunny, dry, and ventilated place. Water it daily and regularly remove any dry leaves.

A fresh bunch of basil that has been sold cut from the plant shouldn’t be stored on the counter. It should be placed immediately in the fridge, or dried and stored in a jar.

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how to store basil - fridgeHow do you store fresh basil in the refrigerator?

Fresh cut basil can have its freshness extended by wrapping the leaves in a paper towel, placing them in a plastic bag, and then refrigerating them. It will protect them from moisture and preserve its taste and aroma. Another interesting way to preserve them in the fridge is to put the leaves in a jar and cover them with olive oil before refrigerating.

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how to store basil - freezeCan fresh basil leaves be frozen?

Freezing fresh basil leaves is a very effective method of preserving their taste and aroma. Clean the leaves and rub them with olive oil before putting them in a plastic bag and freezing.

You can also tear the basil leaves and put them in an ice cube tray. Then, pour olive oil over them and freeze. Basil, in this form, can be used straight out of the freezer in soup and sauces.


Never chop basil leaves with a knife. Instead, tear them with your fingers. Using a knife will bruise the leaves making their color change from pleasing green to unappetizing black.

How Long Does Basil Last?

On the countertop In the refrigerator In the freezer
Potted basil lasts for… Up to 3 months
Fresh cut basicl lasts for… 6 months (dried) 2 days (in paper towel)
2 months (in olive oil)
5 months

how to store basil - badHow to Tell When Basil Has Gone Bad?

Look – the easiest way to find basil freshness is by observing its leaves. If they are withered and they have lost their firmness and vividness of color, the basil is rotting.

Smell – fresh basil leaves are characterized by its signature lively and intense fragrance If you can’t smell this distinct aroma, then it is far from fresh.

Other Useful Tips for How to Store Basil

how to store basil - freshHow long does basil stay fresh in the fridge?

This depends on how you store it.

It will last up to 2 days when wrapped in a paper towel and put in a plastic bag.

If you cover the leaves with olive oil, they can last up to 2 months.

how to store basil - driedHow to Dry Basil

To dry basil, place the leaves on a baking sheet and dry them slowly in the oven at a maximum temperature of 35°c/95°f. Leave the oven door opened slightly to allow steam to escape. You can also dry basil leaves in a shady place, like a shed or an attic. Remember that it must be an airy place without other distinct fragrances. Otherwise, the basil will pick these up as unwanted flavors.

Dried basil should then be stored in a jar on the countertop.

Do you have any alternative ways for how to store fresh basil? How do you store basil in the refrigerator? Let us know in the comments.

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