How to Store Fresh Basil

Fresh basil adds a delightful spark of freshness to all it touches. Here's how to get the most from this flavor powerhouse.

Step 1: Pick the type of basil

Basil is available in an array of flavors. Here are some popular varieties:

  • Thai basil: Also called anise basil, this small-leaf variety boasts a strong licorice flavor.
  • Genovese basil: This type of sweet basil has a vibrant clove flavor and crinkled, curled leaves.
  • Purple basil: Pungent and licoricelike, this basil possesses glossy, burgundy leaves.
  • Lemon basil: This specialty basil has a savory lemon flavor and is characterized by its flat, narrow leaves.
  • Cinnamon basil: With its strong cinnamon scent, this basil is easily distinguished from other basil varieties.

Step 2: Choose the best

Look for basil that has evenly colored, fresh-looking leaves with no brown spots or signs of wilting.

Step 3: Store fresh basil

  • Cut 1/2 inch from the bottom of the stems and stand the sprigs upright in a glass jar.
  • Fill the jar with enough cold water to cover the stems by 1 inch.
  • Loosely cover the leaves with a plastic bag.
  • Store at room temperature for up to 1 week.

For a great way to have the flavor of fresh basil on hand anytime you need it, make the basil into pesto and freeze it in an ice cube tray.

More on Homemade Pesto


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