basil gone bad?

My basil often spoils after 2- 3 days of purchasing them from the supermarket. I have tried wrapping them in a wet paper towels in order to keep them hydrated, but it doesnt seem to have any effect.

How do you preserve your fresh basil leaves for longer than a few days?


2 Answers 2


Best? Potted plant.

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Not just always absolutely fresh, it's also self-replenishing! There may exist tricks like moist towels, keeping them in cold (refrigerated), or preserving them in ways that keep most flavor (in oil), and combinations thereof, but they all are a trade-off between freshness time and quality and all make the leaves degrade in order of at best weeks. Considering that as potted plant basil remains fresh nearly indefinitely, they are all far inferior.

The information about proper care of the plant is abundant on the Internet; here's one comprehensive guide, but in fact the plant is quite durable and grows lush; just give it some sun and water and don't pick it bare and it will keep growing for a long time.

  • I'd say the durability is highly dependent on your location. UK, London it can be grown outside, but only as an annual - also, leave it for a fortnight untended & it will die on you, first dry spell. Indoors on the sunniest windowsill you have to water it daily in summer, when it goes absolutely mad, & really nurse it through winter, but you can just persuade it to remain a perennial. For the simplest way to get it started indoors, buy a growing one from the supermarket in April & re-pot it straight away into something bigger. You'll never have to buy another if you're careful ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 26, 2020 at 11:01
  • I don't know about London, but the basil I planted in my garden and left literally without any care grew into a lush, tall, healthy bush nearly waist-high, and despite of being nearly overgrown by other herbs and weeds (no careful separation and weeding, just scattering the assorted seeds over freshly hoed dirt), All the watering was just natural rainfall. Maybe you have some more fragile breeds, but mine would put thistles to shame with its sturdiness. Annual, yes and potted will require more care, but you'd need a pretty extreme drough to kill the garden-grown one.
    – SF.
    Jun 26, 2020 at 12:32
  • As you didn't give me any clue as to where you are or the climate there, all I can say is "lucky you" ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 26, 2020 at 12:37
  • @Tetsujin: Poland. Climate slightly more harsh than London, but less rain, more sun.
    – SF.
    Jun 26, 2020 at 12:40
  • ahh, yup. Warmer in Summer, colder in Winter. Continental weather as opposed to maritime. We're roughly the same latitude, but that will make a lot of difference, I'd think. We're having a silly hot spell right now, 30, but it will be back to its usual 20 in a couple of days...
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 26, 2020 at 12:46

Make pesto and freeze it.

Buy basil with stems, not picked leaves, and store it in a vase outside the fridge. I do that at the end of the season when frost threatens if I can't make it all into pesto immediately. There's some loss, but it can go as much as a couple of weeks.

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