Basil is an herb that keeps well, even when stored in the fridge. There are a few ways to do this. One way is freezing, which helps maintain freshness, nutrients, color, and aroma. Flash-freeze, the basil, transfer it to the freezer, and it should last up to 6 months.
Another option is to dry the basil before storing it in the fridge. While drying basil is not a good option for fresh basil, it does preserve flavor and color.
There are two common ways to store basil in the fridge. The first method is to store it like a flower bouquet in a quart-size container with the top propped open. This method is preferred because it contains the basil bunch in a container and prevents leaves from shedding. The other method is to place the bunch in a plastic bag and seal it. This method preserves fresh basil for at least a week.
Oregano, thyme, and rosemary are also members of the mint family, as is basil (Ocimum basilicum). Like cilantro and parsley, basil is a delicate herb because of its soft stem and leaves. Basil leaves are distinctive for their oblong, pointed shape and glossy, rich green hue.
Basil is thought to have initially been domesticated in China or Africa thousands of years ago, while its exact origin is a matter of controversy. Today, basil is frequently grown in California, Egypt, Morocco, France, Italy, and other warm countries. The basil flavor balances sweet and spicy with undertones of mint, anise, and pepper.
Basil is utilized to flavor sauces and soups similarly to other fresh herbs. Additionally used as a garnish, fresh basil leaves give any dish a taste boost.
How to Store Basil in the Fridge?
The Best Approach
The best way to keep basil is to arrange the bunch in a glass or jar of water, similar to how you would arrange flowers.
Place everything in a refrigerator. Trim the ends of the bunch, place it in a glass, jar, or vase filled with water that can fit in the refrigerator, and wrap the basil leaves or the entire bunch in a plastic bag. Basil maintained in that manner will keep them healthy and vibrant for up to a week.
Is it a little annoying? Sure. Not at all convenient? Good point. Occupies a lot of refrigerator space? Nobody could challenge that assertion. Does it also maintain basil’s freshness for as long as possible?
The Second-Best Approach
We’ve shown that the ideal approach isn’t always as workable as one might hope. Fortunately, there is a less ideal but still perfectly adequate option.
Basil can be kept in a plastic bag by rolling it up around the leaves; the second-best method of storing it after picking the leaves off the stems and arranging them on layers of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. The leaves are kept moisturized but not soggy or damp with this technique.
For Longer Storage, Use Freezing
Do you wish to preserve basil for more than a few days? Frost it! There are numerous efficient methods for doing it.
Basil that appears to be the greenest and freshest should be swiftly blanched in boiling salt water for 15 seconds, drained, and dropped into cold water to fast cool it (this sets the green color), and then blended with a small amount of olive oil. The purée can be poured into ice cube trays, frozen, and then transferred to resealable plastic bags where it can be stored for up to a year.
Yes, that approach needs a little bit more work. Alternatively, you may arrange some clean, dry basil leaves on a baking sheet, freeze them until solid (this should take about an hour), and then put the frozen leaves in plastic bags that can be sealed.
When basil is frozen in this manner, it turns dark, almost black, but the flavor is still strong. You must blanch it, press the water out, and then freeze it flat to keep it green. However, it is worth the trouble to blanch the basil because it keeps so much more flavor when made into a purée and frozen.
What are the Basil’s Health Benefits?
Basil has several health advantages and is rich in antioxidants. They can help prevent lung, skin, liver, and oral cancers.
Eugenol, which lowers blood pressure, is included in it and might help treat type 2 diabetes. It contains magnesium, which can improve blood flow, and essential oils, which can decrease cholesterol.
Additionally, basil has anti-inflammatory qualities that can help treat inflammatory illnesses. Antioxidants included in basil assist in keeping your skin looking fresh by minimizing wrinkles and acne.
Basil leaves can help you think more clearly, sleep better, and lower your risk of developing dementia. They also have anti-stress, anti-anxiety, and anti-depression effects.
Reference: Chemical components and pharmacological benefits of Basil (Ocimum basilicum): a review
What is the Taste of Basil?
The cultivar can make a difference in basil’s flavor. Sweet basil has a flavor that is slightly minty and has a faint peppery aroma. Other plant varieties have a citrus and spice flavor, and Thai basil has a powerful, savory licorice flavor.
How can I Purchase and Grow Basil?
While dry basil is more affordable and practical, fresh basil has a deeper flavor. Basil can also be bought frozen in recipe-sized cubes in the freezer section of grocery stores.
Although sweet basil is the most popular variety, other types can be obtained at farmers’ markets or in ethnic stores like Asian grocery stores. Another option is to try growing your own.
With nighttime temperatures over 60°F (15.5°C), basil can be grown for at least two months. Basil enjoys being in the light all day and is sensitive to the cold. Basil can be cultivated by sowing seed in soil or soaking a stem from another plant until roots develop. Basil will flourish in a yard or patio planter that has good drainage.
If possible, only take basil leaves from the plants as needed. To promote healthy growth, prune the stem at the base of the plant, only leaving two to four leaves. Put fresh basil stems in a jar with tap water to preserve fresh basil leaves for a few days. Since cold temperatures might damage fresh basil, it is debatable whether you should keep it in the refrigerator.
If you have a lot of fresh basil leaves, you can dry them and store them in a container with a tight-fitting lid. The leaves should not be crumbled until you are ready to use them because doing so helps to keep their flavor, aroma, and essential oils.
What are the Side Effects of Basil?
Basil is generally safe to consume in moderation, but there are a few things to watch out for.
There is a lot of vitamin K in basil leaves, which helps with blood clotting. High intakes may have an impact on blood-thinning medications like warfarin.
Make sure you consume enough vitamin K daily if you’re on a blood thinner so your doctor can monitor your dosage. You could find this harder if you eat foods with a lot of basil, like pesto. Alternatively, basil extracts, like those found in supplements, may thin your blood, which could be problematic if you have a bleeding problem or are preparing for surgery.
People using blood pressure or diabetes drugs should also avoid taking basil supplements because they may lower blood pressure and blood sugar. Your prescription dosage might need to be decreased by your doctor.
Avoid using holy basil if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Supplements containing holy basil have been demonstrated to damage sperm and induce labor in animal studies. There aren’t any known hazards connected to breastfeeding. Despite the rarity of basil allergies, there have been a few cases of people having an adverse reaction to pesto.
Which Variety of Basil is the Sweetest?
The most popular type of basil is Genovese basil (Ocimum basilicum), sometimes called sweet basil. Both names are equally acceptable—perennial basil flourishes in USDA hardiness zones eleven and higher, whether sweet or Genovese.
The most popular variety of basil is sweet basil, which embodies summer. Gardeners and chefs appreciate its pungent clove-flavored, spherical, cup-shaped leaves. The variety to grow if you want a lot of pesto leaves is one that has both Genovese and regular bails.
Which Variety of Basil has the Best Aroma?
Holy basil has a musky, sweet, and spicy scent. The flavor is most delicate when cooked because it may be bitter when consumed raw. Holy basil is frequently used in meat curries in Indian cooking. Holy Basil is also known as tulsi, a South Asian term meaning “the incomparable one.”
The flavor of the dried large-leaf type is warm, sweet, aromatic, and somewhat spicy, and the scent is like anise. The well-known basil’s dried leaves have a stronger flavor and are less fragrant.
Which Basil Variety is the Best for Italian Cooking?
Only sweet basil (Ocimum basilica) and its near relative, basilica Genovese, are used in Italian cuisine. Although it has been described as having a flavor that is spicy and peppery with hints of clove and mint, this description is far from accurate.
Like parsley, basil (basilica in Italian) is a popular herb in Italian cuisine. It appears in several Italian dishes, the most well-known of which is the Caprese salad. Any recipe benefits from the taste boost that basil brings and pairs nicely with cheeses, tomatoes, garlic, and lemon.
Basil is easily preserved in the fridge. It can be kept for months without wilting. To store it in the fridge, first, remove the stems. Next, separate the leaves from the stems. Make sure the leaves are completely dry. Then, please put them in a freezer-safe container and pop them out when they are no longer needed.
The best way to store fresh herbs in the fridge is to put them into a glass jar and cover them with olive oil and Kosher salt. You can also place them inside a plastic bag with holes. Labeling the jar with the date you stored them would be best. This way, you can reuse the herbs for several weeks, and you don’t have to worry about wasting them.