Sunday, August 18, 2013

How to Store Cut Basil

Oh, we love our fresh basil. Every year, even if I grow nothing else edible, I have a few pots of basil. And it's quite easy to store for a week or more once you cut it. This is handy when you need to cut sprigs off to keep it from flowering and don't have time to make pesto right away. It's also an easy way to root more basil. Frequently, one or more of the stems will root for me if left long enough. This week, not only do I have my own basil, but I got another big bunch from the Colvins in my CSA basket. Pesto, here we come!

Simply cut stalks right above a pair of leaves. Sharp scissors are helpful, but I've used sharp fingernails in a pinch. Then, plunk the stalks into a cup of water. Any leaves that are below the water line will turn back. It's best to have enough water to cover the bottom stem ends by an inch or so and just replenish. If you're getting basil from somewhere like a CSA basket or farmer's market, you may want to give the stems a fresh cut.

Do not store in the fridge. I store mine on my kitchen windowsill which gets filtered sunlight. Any similar spot should work fine for you.

You can also pull the leaves off and freeze them on a cookie sheet. When frozen, toss them all in a bag. They'll turn black, but the flavor will be far superior to the dried stuff and will work well in cooked dishes (like spaghetti sauce or tomato basil soup) in the months to come.

1 comment:

The Sugared and Spiced Kitchen said...

Betsy,
I am so glad you posted this! Now I know where I have been going wrong . . . I always put my fresh basil in the fridge! I am going to try it your way.

I love pesto and try to always have several baggies of it frozen. I have a recipe for a basil salt that I keep meaning to try to help use up the basil. I am thinking you have inspired me to try it.

Suzanne