How To Store Fresh Basil

I don’t know about you, but every time I grow basil in my garden, I always end up with way more than I know what to do with! I dry a lot of it so I can use it throughout the winter, but a lot of times I want fresh basil for a recipe. So today’s simple tutorial will show you how to store fresh basil so it stays bright green and vibrant for at least a week!

How To Store Fresh Basil: Learn how to keep fresh basil green and healthy on your countertop for at least a week!

If your basil plants need pruning, but your dinner plans don’t involve basil tonight, don’t worry; you can store fresh basil on your counters for a week or longer! This trick is also perfect if you buy fresh basil from the grocery store but don’t use the whole bunch all at once!

How To Store Fresh Basil

The first thing you need to know is that you should never put your fresh basil in the refrigerator!!! Basil is a delicate herb with a high moisture content, and it does not like cold temperatures. Refrigeration can cause the leaves to wilt and turn black. Blech!

Instead, just leave it out on your counter at room temp in a glass or vase of water, just like cut flowers! Trim the bottoms of the stems so that you have a fresh cut (only necessary for store bought basil; if you just pruned your basil plant, the cut will already be fresh enough) and place the stems into a glass of water.

Try not to get the leaves in the water, if you can. I know when you’re pruning your basil plant, it can sometimes be hard to get a good, long stem, but the leaves will get soggy if you leave them in the water, so do your best!

How to store fresh basil for at least a week!

Then put a plastic bag over the whole thing to help keep the moisture from escaping! It’s not the prettiest, but it definitely works!

Learn how to keep fresh basil green and healthy on your countertop for at least a week!

Just make sure there’s room for air to flow into and out of the bag. Like any other plant, basil produce ethylene gas, which is what helps fruit to ripen. But if the plant doesn’t have room to breathe, the ethylene gas will cause the leaves to wilt. Make sure the leaves are completely covered by the bag, but leave at least an inch at the bottom for the gas to escape.

Change out the water every day or so to keep it fresh, and your basil will live happily on your counter for at least a week!

Do you have any other tricks for storing fresh herbs? Want to share this tip with your friends? Just click any of the share buttons off to the left to share to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.!


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Jessi Wohlwend

I believe that anyone can do crafts and DIY projects, regardless of skill or experience. I love sharing simple craft ideas, step by step DIY project tutorials, cleaning hacks, and other tips and tricks all with one goal in mind: giving you the tools you need to “do it yourself”, complete fun projects, and make awesome things!

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Reader Interactions

  1. Erika says

    5 years ago

    Thank you for this! I have mistakenly put basil in the fridge and had it turn black and wilt just like you said. I’m excited to try this!

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      5 years ago

      Yeah I used to put basil in the fridge and it just never lasted, but this works great!

  2. N Janet says

    6 years ago

    I grow Basil in my herb garden all summer …. but to have fresh basil all winter I bring a plant indoors …. and yes, I put it in front of a sunny window …… Just remember to water it regularly !

  3. Veronica says

    7 years ago

    I bought a basil plant from the grocery store. I don’t want to plant it since we are military and move a lot, however, I would love to keep it alive indoors. Right now I have it in the small planter it came in. Any suggestions?

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      7 years ago

      You can definitely grow basil in a pot indoors! I did it for a long time while we lived in our apartment, before we bought this house with a yard. Just make sure you get a pot that’s big enough (at least 12″, better if you have room for something bigger like a 16″ pot). Then find the sunniest window in your home, give it plenty of water, prune it every once in a while, and it should do just fine! I wrote a post a while ago about transplanting seedlings, but the same idea applies for if you want to transplant your basil from the small container it came in to a larger pot. Check it out if you want, and good luck with it! Let me know if you have any questions!

  4. Nancy says

    7 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this! This is exactly how what I have been teaching my customers for years! Although, I don’t add the plastic bag on the top, but that might be because we live in CA and the temperatures are not too high here. But, you are exactly right about the ethylene gases and how it makes produce/fruit ripen. Nice to see someone knows what they are talking about 🙂 And, this really works! 🙂 If you don’t mind, I’ll share your post on my farm’s facebook page?
    Nancy at SLO Grown Produce

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      7 years ago

      Aww thanks Nancy! And absolutely, feel free to share this wherever you’d like!

  5. Joy Joy says

    7 years ago

    Your basil when treated this way just might put out roots ant then you can pot it up. Makes a great gift when someone compliments you on a dish you made with fresh basil.

  6. paul wilson says

    7 years ago

    thanks jessi,the tip for keeping basil will be very useful

  7. Lauren says

    7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing — I will definitely try this tip the next time I buy basil! Or maybe I should plant some basil if it’s not to late! Visiting from Haven Mavens 14!

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      7 years ago

      It’s definitely not too late to plant basil; it grows really fast! Thanks for stopping by, and I’m super excited to see everyone at Haven this year!

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