Cooking Tips + Kitchen Tips

Published on July 30th, 2013 | by Becky Striepe


The Best Way to Store Fresh Basil

the best way to store fresh basil

Has your CSA or farmers market been rich with beautiful basil this summer? Here’s the best way to store fresh basil to avoid wilting and reduce food waste!

We are already growing basil in our raised garden beds, so when my CSA delivered a big bunch of organic basil two weeks ago, I knew there was no way I’d be able to use it all before my family headed out of town for a summer beach vacation. This simple storage technique not only kept my basil fresh while I was away, but at the end I was able to add even more basil plants to my garden.

Best Way to Store Fresh Basil

Next time you’re overwhelmed with fresh basil, here’s the best way to store it:

  • Fill a tall glass with enough water to cover the stems but not touch the leaves. If necessary, remove and leaves that are low on your basil stems.
  • Place your basil in the glass, and change the water every few days until you’re ready to use.
best way to store fresh basil

See those roots? That means that you can plant this basil in your garden!

I pushed it by leaving mine when we headed out of town. It sat for 5 days on the windowsill. When I came back, some of the bunch had wilted, but there was still some basil that was good as new! Since I still had no plans to cook with it, I took that basil – which now was growing little roots – and planted it in the garden. We are going to feast on some pesto this summer, that is for sure!

fresh basil in the garden

This method isn’t just the best way to store fresh basil. Keeping other herbs like cilantro, mint, or sage in water will help them keep longer, and if they sprout roots you can plant them just like I did with my basil!

Image Credits: First Basil photo via Shutterstock, all other photos by Becky Striepe

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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .

2 Responses to The Best Way to Store Fresh Basil

  1. I’ve used this method on green onions and it works well. I’ve tried it with basil too but mine did not turn out well. I was actually trying to get it to develop roots in the cup, but it wilted pretty quickly–less than three days. It could have been the basil I got though as it wasn’t too hot to begin with.

    • I wonder what went wrong! With basil you sometimes have to change the water more than with scallions, but I’m not sure how big a difference that would have made. I’d love to hear how it goes if you try again! I was lucky to get this basil from my CSA, so it had just been picked that morning. Maybe that’s the difference?

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