How to store basil

I used to have a basil plant on my deck, but one day we went on vacation and it died.  I never had the motivation to get another one, so now, I’m stuck buying my basil.  I used to bring it home from the store and throw it into my fridge right in it’s plastic package it came in, without much thought.  And then I’d try to use it up as soon as possible.  But inevitably, the leaves would turn black…then wilted…then mushy.  

With most other herbs, you can actually prolong their lives by wrapping them in slightly damp paper towels and storing them in a resealable plastic bag.  They should last you a while.  But you can’t do that with basil.  The coldness of your fridge will turn the leaves black almost immediately, and they’ll be droopy and sad.  So in order to keep your basil happy and fresh longer, this is all you need: 1. a cup of water, and 2. a plastic bag.

How to store basil |

If your basil has long stems, trim the ends first.  If they look like this, then no need to trim.  They’re short enough.  Plop them in your cup of water.  Then carefully put your Ziplock bag on top.  I only had a tiny bunch, so I used a smaller quart sized bag.  Depending on how big your bunch is, you might need a gallon size.  The bag helps trap the heat and moisture in, and acts like a mini greenhouse!  This is perfect for the cold winter days here lately.

How to store basil |

Then you keep it OUT of direct sun, and OUT of the refrigerator.  So I keep it on the counter, next to my sink, and away from the window, but still in plain sight so I remember to use it.  It should last you much longer than normal, up to a week or even two weeks!  This is my basil after a couple days… fresh, fluffy and still green.  I’m excited to see how long it will last me.

How to store basil |

Especially during this time of year, having a bright bouquet of basil is a welcoming touch to my kitchen.  Remember to change out the water every now and then, and if your kitchen is warm enough, you might not need the bag at all.  I hope this tip helps and you can enjoy an abundance of pesto and Caprese salad whenever you want it!


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