From caprese salads to punching up cold pasta dishes, basil is the perfect fresh herb for all your summer dishes. If your herb garden is producing more basil than you can use in a week, there are plenty of ways to keep it fresh until your next delicious meal.
A Basil Bouquet
To keep cut basil on the stem fresh for up to a week, place the stems in a glass of water like a bouquet. Room temperature will keep the leaves a vibrant green. If you’re storing the basil for longer than a few days, putting a plastic produce bag over the basil leaves will lock in moisture. Change the water frequently for optimal freshness.
If you love a quick sprinkle of basil in your favorite summer potato salad, drying your herbs can be a great way to preserve them. DIY dried basil will also be much more flavorful (and quite a bit younger) than store-bought dried basil. To dry your herbs set your oven to 200 degrees and place the leaves on a non-stick baking sheet. Then, let the basil dry in the oven for 2 to 4 hours, or until the leaves are completely free of moisture.
When you know your basil just isn’t going to make it much longer, freezing is a great last-ditch attempt to save it. It doesn’t hurt that frozen basil is perfect in pesto and sauces. To keep basil leaves from turning black when frozen, quickly blanche the leaves by quickly dipping them in boiling water then dropping into ice water. For quick weeknight meals, freeze basil in an ice cube tray with a lid. Then you can simply pop out as much as you need.