Extend the Life of Your Freshly Harvested, Organic Herbs
Avoid cold temperatures or contact with moisture – both cause basil to blacken. Ideal storage temperature is 50-55°F; a cool room is better than the refrigerator. For a bunch of basil, trim stems and place “bouquet” ends in water. Keep the leaves dry, and place a plastic bag over the top. For container packed basil, remove from the container and use the “bouquet” technique, or place basil in a plastic bag with the bag open just enough to help prevent condensation. Basil doesn’t like refrigeration, but it’s better for storing than a warm room. Place bagged basil loosely closed, in the refrigerator, keeping it dry. Wash basil just before using.
Wash basil leaves, dry well and process or blend with a drizzle of olive oil – enough to make a paste. Pack mixture into ice cube trays and place in freezer. When frozen, pop out cubes and store in air-tight bags or containers. Frozen basil may darken, which does not affect the flavor. You can preserve the fresh green color by blanching leaves before processing. To blanch: Drop basil into a pot of boiling water for 10 seconds. Remove and plunge into ice water. Let cool and drain. You can also freeze whole basil leaves: Wash and dry leaves and store them in an air-tight freezer bag. Frozen leaves can be added to soups or stews, but will wilt quickly and are not suitable for recipes calling for fresh basil.
Storing All Other Fresh Herbs:
Herbs other than basil need cooler temps to remain at their best. Fresh herbs can be stored in the refrigerator, either in their original containers or placed in plastic bags. The “bouquet” method works well. All herbs should be washed just before using.