Fancy three nifty tricks to keep basil fresh for up to two weeks without the heartache of tossing it out just after two days because it dried or turned brown? There are so many opinions on how to store this very sensitive herb and the tricks below are those that I find the most useful and that I've been using regularly since Balazs and I add basil to literally everything during the summer :)
First things first, basil should be treated as flowers! So always trim about a 1/2 inch from the bottom of the stems and make sure you dry the leaves after washing. That is a must!
If you have just a little bunch that you picked up from the farmers' market and you're planning to use it up over a period of 5-7 days, then you have two options that work like a charm:
One - wrap your basil with slightly dampen paper towel and store it in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Two - Even better option is to stand your basil bouquet in a little glass with just enough cold water to cover the stems by 1 inch and store it in the fridge just like that for up to a week.
Now, here is my all-time favourite basil trick that I learned from Rachael Ray and it works perfectly on bigger basil quantities that you want to keep fresh for up to 2 weeks. Yup, two weeks:) It's my go to trick.
Three - Place the whole bunch of washed basil with pre-cut stems in a large glass or a bowl in a way that it can stand like a bouquet of flowers. Then cover it very loosely with a plastic food storage bag like on the photo above and leave it like that on your counter. This way you are creating a mini green house that will ensure your basil stays fresh with vibrant colour and beautiful scent for up to a whopping 14 days!
Also, I just read that the best way to wash your basil is by submerging it in a bowl with cold water, and letting it sit in it for a few minutes before repeating it and then gently drying it with paper towel. Ha, who would have thought?
What's your favourite way to store fresh herbs? Would you try those tricks? Do you use basil a lot in your kitchen? xo
P.S: And here is Tim's cool tip on how to preserve fresh basil for winter use!
P.P.S: Also, fresh basil works perfectly with this bloomin gooey cheese bread and you can easily replace the spinach in this sandwich with fresh basil instead. Yum!
(Tips via bon appétit, The Daily Muse, Rachael Ray and my mom. Photos by et si vous veniez manger chez nous?, via Suvi Sur Le Vif, by Zach Desart and illustrations by bon appétit)