HOW TO STORE BASIL AND KEEP IT FROM WILTING

HOW TO STORE BASIL AND KEEP IT FROM WILTING

How to store basil and keep it from wilting

Known for its sweet and spicy flavor, basil (which is an easy herb to grow at home) can instantly enhance even the most basic meals. Spicy greens are also versatile, as they can be mixed with condiments (such as pesto) or used for pastas, soups and salads.  Basil is very difficult due to the delicate structure of its stems and leaves and high humidity. In turn, you may find yourself buying the herb over and over again, just to watch it quickly wilt and lose flavor.
 
With this in mind, proper storage is important to get the most out of your basil and avoid waste.

Selecting fresh basil

When buying basil at the grocery store or farmer's market, look for bright, green leaves without blemishes or dark spots.  Make sure the leave is soft and whole. Fresh basil should also provide a strong and sweet herb flavor with a citrusy aroma.
 
The right temperature and humidity to store basil
 
Basil is a warm herb that is very sensitive to cold. This is due to the structure of its cell membrane, which is rich in oil and fat. When basil is exposed to cool temperature, these oils and fats damage the leaf tissue. Cold storage in the grocery store speeds up the process. This is why it is not recommended to store basil in the refrigerator.

Instead, it's best to store basil on the counter at room temperature between 50 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit, with 55 degrees Fahrenheit being the best storage,
 
Basil thrives in storage at 90 to 95 percent humidity. You can increase the humidity of the air around the greens by soaking the plants in water or covering the basil well with a non seal covering. 
 
Stop storing basil in the fridge! Cold temperatures cause cellular damage to the leaves, reducing the life of the plant. Instead, keep the basil on the counter.

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How to prepare basil for storage
 
There are several ways to prepare and package basil for storage. One way is to put it in a bag and put a dry towel on the bottom and a small towel on top.

Another option is to wrap the basil in a paper towel and place it in a plastic bag.
 If the basil has stems, cut the ends and place them in a glass pot with a few inches of water (like a bouquet of flowers); then put a plastic bag.

  Be sure to change the water daily to keep the basil fresh. This method "helps keep the leaves and stems turgid, preventing them from wilting and spoiling over time.
 
Whatever method you choose, avoid completely sealing the basil in the container. This will create a very humid environment in the house.

Can you freeze basil?

 Although basil is easy to spoil in the cold, it can be recycled for long-term storage by preparing herb cubes. To do this, combine neutral oil with chopped basil (and any other ingredients you like) and transfer the mixture to ice cube trays. This process will preserve the color and flavor of the herbs and allow you to enjoy them for a long time. If you want to freeze individual leaves, be sure to dry them first. 

Bring a small pot of water to the boil with a lot of salt. The salt will make the basil shine because it releases the chlorophyll pigment. Add the basil. and boiling water for 10 minutes to 15 seconds, rinse and cool in an ice bath.
 
You can remove the excess water and throw them one by one on a baking tray (or cut paper) before putting them in an airtight container, where they will keep for about three months. But be careful: freezing will increase the cell wall of the grass, making it soft and wilted after thawing. That said, this method works best if you plan to use the frozen basil in cooked dishes (like soups or stews) rather than as a garnish. 

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Tips and tricks for extending the shelf life of Basil
 
The shelf life of basil depends on how fresh it is at the time of purchase. But generally, when stored properly, it lasts about one to three days.

Follow these tips to increase the schedule:
 
 To get the most out of your basil, avoid washing the herb until you're ready to use it. Remember that the herb is already very wet, so the next step can encourage wilting. 

It's a good idea to check the basil every day (or almost every day) and remove anything that is brown or wilted, as this can spread to neighboring sprigs.


 If possible, buy hydroponically grown basil. This variety lasts longer [than conventionally grown basil] and is less susceptible to injury. It's also generally fresher because it takes less travel to get to your kitchen. 

Place the basil on the counter
 
For best results, basil should be stored on the counter at room temperature. You can wrap the leaves in paper towels and store them in loose plastic bags. For basil you have to put it in a glass pot like a bouquet of flowers and a few inches of water. Place a clear plastic bag over it and change the water daily. When stored properly, basil will stay fresh for about three days, or even a little longer.

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