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Cut herbs wilt so quickly, especially basil! Want to extend the life of your herbs? Here’s a trick of how to store fresh basil.

How to store fresh basil
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Ever brought fresh herbs inside, only to have them wilt a few hours later? We’ve brought in basil from our garden and placed it in a cup of water, only to have it fully wilted just 1 hour! Luckily, we’ve found a trick for how to store fresh basil: and all you need is a canning jar. The canning jar approach keeps basil fresh for 3 to 5 days! Here’s how to store fresh basil indoors to extend its life.

Want ideas for how to use it? Try our Best Basil Recipes.

How to store fresh basil

First of all, this method of how to keep basil fresh is for stems of basil leaves, not for cut basil leaves. Can you keep cut basil leaves fresh? Unfortunately, not really. Basil leaves removed from the stems don’t keep well. We recommend using basil leaves the day of harvesting. Make a batch of pesto with leftovers!

For this method, you’ll need branches of basil with the leaves still attached to the stem. All you’ll need is a large canning jar with a lid, like a Ball jar or mason jar. Here’s what to do:

  • Find a large canning jar and place a few inches of water inside. Make sure the jar is large enough that the basil stems won’t be squished or packed inside.
  • Place the basil stems inside the jar, cut side down. Screw on the lid of the jar, which helps to keep the basil fresh.
  • Store refrigerated for 3 to 5 days. You also can store the basil at room temperature, which keeps it fresh for about 3 to 4 days.

Another option: store-bought herb saver!

A storebought herb saver also works for storing fresh basil and other herbs of any kind! We’ve been using ours for years and love it. The purchased herb saver works even better for taller herbs like cilantro and parsley. The canning jar method is the same idea, but works perfectly for basil because it provides a bit more room for the branches.

Did you know you can dry basil at home? Go to How to Dry Basil.

How to grow basil

Are you growing your own basil at home? If not, you should be! Growing basil is easy and all you need is a pot and a sunny ledge. Here are all our tips on How to Grow Basil. See also our Quick Guide to Basil.

Storing other hebs

Want the best ways to store other herbs? See How to Store Cilantro, How to Store Parsley, How to Store Mint, or How to Store Fresh Herbs.

How to store fresh basil

Recipes with basil

Without a doubt, basil is Alex and my top herb to grow and cook with! It could be because we love to cook Italian style recipes and basil is key in Italian cuisine! But basil works in all sorts of different cuisines. Here are some of our favorite recipes with basil:

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How to store fresh basil

How to Store Fresh Basil


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: N/A

Description

Cut herbs wilt so quickly, especially basil! Want to extend the life of your herbs? Here’s a trick of how to store fresh basil.


Ingredients

  • Basil plant
  • Large canning jar

Instructions

  1. Harvest the basil following the instructions in How to Harvest Basil.
  2. Find a large canning jar and place a few inches of water inside. Make sure the jar is large enough that the basil stems won’t be squished or packed inside.
  3. Place the basil stems inside the jar, cut side down. Screw on the lid of the jar, which helps to keep the basil fresh.
  4. Store refrigerated for 3 to 5 days. You also can store the basil at room temperature, which keeps it fresh for about 3 to 4 days.
  • Category: Essentials
  • Method: Storage
  • Cuisine: Herbs
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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9 Comments

  1. den wells says:

    I put stem cuttings (with leaves) of basil in a small jar or glass. It will release roots in less than a week and will keep growing roots. Just add water every day or every other day. I have it sitting in a window that doesn’t have full / all day sun. I’m able to keep the basil for quite a long time this way.

  2. Ray says:

    We keep our harvested basil, stems & loose leaves, at room temperature, near a window, in a closed zip-lock bag, with a few very wet paper towels. Works like a charm!

  3. Judy Chambers says:

    Hi there! I keep my fresh basil “leaves”, no stems, in a bowl of room temperature water and they stay fresh for days – no wilting….change the water daily. I’m surprised that this method has not been mentioned. Love to hear your comments :o).

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      We’ve never tried this! I’ll have to try.

  4. Pam Brooks says:

    Thanks for the tips. I really appreciate them.

  5. Jean Holder says:

    Very helpful, Ihave lots of basil growing in my garden.Thank you!

    1. Beverly Aradoz says:

      Thank you for this awesome information! I’ve been looking for a way to keep my fresh basil and not have it wilt so fast.

    2. Cleopatra says:

      An i bring the basil inside for the winter. Mine is in a pot.

  6. Barbara says:

    Thank you for the herb keeper recommendation, I just ordered it on Amazon and I guess it’s going to be delivered tomorrow! I’m looking very forward to being able to purchase basil, mint, and rosemary a lot more often now and don’t have to worry about losing my fresh cuts I just purchased before I even start eating them!